How to Enroll in the Right Truck Driving School near Danville California
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Danville CA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Danville home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal 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 goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Danville CA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive 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 drive specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Danville CA trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Danville CA area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Danville CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the California licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Danville CA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great 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 real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction 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 provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Danville CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Danville CA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in California, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Danville CA school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Danville CA employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Danville CA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Truck School Danville California
Selecting the right truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck School and wanting information on the topic Truck Training School. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Danville CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
The Town of Danville is located in the San Ramon Valley in Contra Costa County, California. It is one of the incorporated municipalities in California that uses "town" in its name instead of "city". The population was 44,631 in 2016.
The Iron Horse Regional Trail runs through Danville. It was first a railroad that has been converted to an 80-foot (24 m) wide corridor of bike and hike trails as well as controlled intersections. Extending from Pleasanton to Concord, the trail passes through Danville.
Often referred to as the "Heart of the San Ramon Valley," Danville was first populated by Native Americans who lived near creeks and camped on Mount Diablo in the summer. Later, it was part of Mission San José's grazing land and a Mexican land grant called Rancho San Ramon.
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