How to Enroll in the Right Truck Driving Classes near Honeydew California
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Honeydew CA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Honeydew residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Honeydew CA, a driver needs to 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 topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and 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). Below are short summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 required 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 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 need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Honeydew CA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Honeydew CA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Honeydew CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the California licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in California and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Honeydew CA schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Honeydew CA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain 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 offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Honeydew CA schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in California, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at California testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Honeydew CA school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Honeydew CA employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Honeydew CA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Trucking Schools Honeydew California
Picking the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Trucking Schools and wanting information on the topic CDL Training Programs. However, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need 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 enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Honeydew CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
Honeydew (formerly, Honey Dew) is an unincorporated community in Humboldt County, California. It is located 17 miles (27 km) south of Scotia, at an elevation of 322 feet (98 m), 15 miles (24 km) from the Pacific Ocean in the Lost Coast, near the King Range. It has a general store, elementary school, post office, and a few houses nearby. Many of the locals live in the hills surrounding the Mattole valley, named after the Mattole River which runs through the valley. The ZIP code is 95545 and the community is inside area code 707.
The steepness and related geotechnical challenges of the coastal mountains made this stretch of coastline too costly for state highway or county road builders to establish routes through the area, leaving it the most undeveloped portion of the California coast. California State Route 1, which runs very close along the coast for most of the route's length, stops at Leggett and merges with U.S. Route 101, which runs several miles inland.
There are three roads leading to Honeydew: one comes from neighboring Southern Humboldt town of Garberville, which follows Wilder Ridge Road, another off U.S. Route 101 (State Highway) that runs through the Redwood forest, and another from Ferndale in the north. The Ferndale route, over what is locally known as "the Wildcat" (in reference to bobcats that reside in the area) offers scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and the neighboring town of Petrolia. All three routes traverse over twisting mountain roads, which can be treacherous in bad weather, especially during coastal fog conditions. The valley itself is at a confluence of climates. Just a few miles away to the west weather is often foggy and cool, while the interior valleys can reach summer temperatures of 100 °F (38 °C) and 100 inches (2,500 mm) of rain per year. It is wise for travelers in the area to prepare for quickly changing weather in all seasons, as there is very limited cell phone coverage, being primarily nearest the Honeydew General Store and the river valley flats nearby, should emergency help be required. Electricity and access to the area can be interrupted in inclement weather. People visiting the area are strongly encouraged to check local road reports should conditions change. Fuel is generally – but not always – available at the General Store, and at Petrolia, 15 miles (24 km) to the west.