How to Pick the Best Trucker Classes near Fort Jones California
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Fort Jones CA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Fort Jones home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Fort Jones CA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Fort Jones CA truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Fort Jones CA area are accredited due to the stringent 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, 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 assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Fort Jones CA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the California licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in California and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Fort Jones CA schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Fort Jones CA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Fort Jones CA schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in California, find out 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 competing schools for test times at California testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Fort Jones CA school you select 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 instructor should be prepared 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? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Fort Jones CA employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Fort Jones 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Best Trucking Schools Fort Jones California
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Best Trucking Schools and wanting information on the topic CDL Driving School Near Me. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Fort Jones CA.
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Fort Jones, California
Fort Jones is registered as a California Historical Landmark. It takes its name from the frontier outpost once located less than a mile to the south of the city's corporate limits. The town was originally named Scottsburg (c. 1850), but was changed to Scottsville shortly afterward. In 1852, the site was again renamed Wheelock, this time in honor of Mr. O. C. Wheelock who, with his partners, established the area's first commercial enterprise. In 1854, a post office was established and the town was renamed again, becoming known as Ottitiewa, the Indian name for the Scott River branch of the Shasta tribe. The name remained unchanged until 1860 when local citizens successfully petitioned the postal department to change the name to Fort Jones, a name that is retained to the present day.
The earliest permanent building at the town site was built in 1851 by two Messrs. Brown and Kelly. It was purchased soon after construction by O. C. Wheelock, Captain John B. Pierce, and two other unknown partners. Wheelock and his partners established a trading post, a bar, and a brothel at this site, which primarily served the troopers stationed at the fort. Near the end of the 1850s, the nearby mining camps of Hooperville and Deadwood began to disband as a result of the dwindling stores of placer gold, epidemic illness and devastating fires.
The mines around Scott Valley attracted many immigrants from many parts of the United States and the world, attracted to the area by news of the California Gold Rush of the 1850s. Irish and Portuguese immigrants remained as ranchers in the area after making enough on the gold fields to purchase property tracts in the valley. In the early years of the Twentieth Century, the northern Scott River tributaries of Moffitt and McAddams creeks were extensively settled by the Portuguese. The Irish surname Marlahan lives on after that family received a shipment of British hay seed infected with the seed of a plant known as Dyers Woad. Those seeds spread their spawn throughout Scott Valley, culturing a plant known in the area as Marlahan Mustard. The plant has a beautiful, canary plume in the spring which matures to small, black, hard seeds. Unfortunately, the herbivore beasts of burden will not eat hay in which this plant exists, and ever since it has been a scourge on the ranchers of Scott Valley.