How to Enroll in the Right Truck Driving Classes near Greenbrae California
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Greenbrae CA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. 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 several variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Greenbrae home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest 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 Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Greenbrae CA, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick 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). Following are brief explanations of 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 greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Greenbrae CA trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Greenbrae CA area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given 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 satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Greenbrae CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. 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 stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the California licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in California and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next 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 attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Greenbrae CA schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important 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 criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will provide plenty of 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 driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Greenbrae CA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver 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 obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Greenbrae CA schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in California, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at California testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Greenbrae CA school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Greenbrae CA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Greenbrae CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Truck Drivers School Greenbrae California
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to starting your new occupation 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 several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Drivers School and wanting information on the topic How To Choose CDL Training. However, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Greenbrae CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
Greenbrae is a small unincorporated community in Marin County, California. It is located 1.5 miles (2 km) south-southeast of downtown San Rafael, at an elevation of 33 feet (10 m), located adjacent to U.S. Route 101 at the opening of the Ross Valley. Part of Greenbrae is an unincorporated community of the county while the remaining area is inside the city limits of Larkspur. The ZIP code is 94904, and is shared with the neighboring Census-designated place (CDP) of Kentfield. The community is in area codes 415 and 628.
Predominantly composed of hillside and waterfront terrain, its homes and offices are known for their views of the San Francisco Bay, Corte Madera Creek, and Mount Tamalpais. "Brae" means a steep bank or hillside in dialects of Scotland and Northern Ireland; Greenbrae translates to "green hillside." The developer of Greenbrae, Niels Schultz, Jr., died in early 2008. Greenbrae's neighborhoods are bordered by downtown Larkspur to the south, Larkspur Landing to the east, the unincorporated area of Kentfield to the west, and the city of San Rafael to the north. Straddling Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, its most frequented points of interest include Marin General Hospital and Bon Air Shopping Center.
Greenbrae was home to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer for over 30 years, until 2006. Pediatrician William Silverman, who influenced the development of the neonatal intensive care unit, died there in 2004. Writer Jack Finney died in Greenbrae shortly after completing his last novel, as did Les Crane. Radio host Michael Krasny is a long term resident. American poet FrancEyE died in Greenbrae on June 2, 2009. Additionally, the runner-up of the second season of the cooking competition show Masterchef Junior Samuel Stromberg also lives in Greenbrae.
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