How to Decide on the Right Trucking Classes near Coalinga California
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Coalinga CA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Coalinga home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Coalinga CA, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate with Class A licenses are:
- Interstate or Intrastate Tractor Trailers
- Trucks with Double or Triple Trailers
- Tanker Trucks
- Livestock Carriers
- Class B and Class C Vehicles
Class B CDL. A Class B CDL is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B CDLs may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Coalinga CA trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are several additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Coalinga CA area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Coalinga CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the California licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Coalinga CA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Coalinga CA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Coalinga CA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at California testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Coalinga CA school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Coalinga CA employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Coalinga CA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Class A CDL Classes Coalinga California
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class A CDL Classes and wanting information on the topic How To Get Class B License. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Coalinga CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
Legendary bandit Joaquin Murrieta was killed in 1853 at his headquarters, Arroyo de Cantua, north of Coalinga. California Historical Landmark #344 marks the approximate site of where he was slain, near the junction of present-day State Route 33 and Route 198.
Before 20th-century diesel locomotives, steam locomotives were used, and powered in the San Joaquin Valley by burning coal mined from the northern foothills of Mount Diablo to the north. The Southern Pacific Railroad Company established the site as a coaling station in 1888, and it was called simply Coaling Station A. Local tradition has it that an official of Southern Pacific made the name more sonorous by adding an a to it. However, it is just as likely that the small railside signs of the day, which often abbreviated names, read "COALINGA" to mean "Coaling A." [Another example is Braner's Cut north of Eureka, whose sign said "BRACUT," which has now become the name of that spot along Highway 101.] The resemblance to Nahuatl (where cōātl = "snake") is accidental.
On May 2, 1983, Coalinga was struck by an earthquake with a moment magnitude of 6.5, which nearly destroyed more than 300 homes and apartment buildings; another 691 buildings suffered major damage, and hundreds more had minor damage. Damage was severe in downtown Coalinga–the eight block commercial district was almost totally destroyed. The shock was felt as far away as Los Angeles and western Nevada, and was followed by a series of aftershocks that caused additional minor damage and some injuries. Only one death was reported of a man who succumbed to a heart attack.