How to Enroll in the Best Truck Driver Classes near La Canada Flintridge California
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near La Canada Flintridge CA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your La Canada Flintridge residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and La Canada Flintridge CA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver 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 focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 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 Commercial Drivers License 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 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the La Canada Flintridge CA truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, including 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 carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the La Canada Flintridge CA area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given plenty 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked 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 top La Canada Flintridge CA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the California licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. 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 personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most La Canada Flintridge CA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will furnish 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the La Canada Flintridge CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with 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. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the La Canada Flintridge CA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed 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 battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at California testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the La Canada Flintridge 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 particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared 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 accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few La Canada Flintridge CA employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other La Canada Flintridge CA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask 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 must be submitted.
Truck Driver Schools La Canada Flintridge California
Selecting the right trucking school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driver Schools and wanting information on the topic CDL Job Training. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver 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 receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in La Canada Flintridge CA.
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La Cañada Flintridge, California
La Cañada Flintridge is a city in Los Angeles County, California, with a population of 20,246 in 2010. It is located in the Crescenta Valley and far western end of the San Gabriel Valley, to the northwest of Pasadena. It is the home of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
During the Spanish and Mexican eras, the area was known as Rancho La Cañada. Before the city's incorporation in 1976, it consisted of two distinct communities, La Cañada and Flintridge. La Cañada comes from the Spanish word cañada (pronounced "canyada"), meaning canyon, gorge, or ravine; Flintridge was named after its developer, United States Senator Frank P. Flint.
Flintridge comprises the southern part of the city, covering the northern flank of the San Rafael Hills, but more generally including most areas south of Foothill Blvd. The eastern part, even north of Foothill Blvd., was also originally considered Flintridge and is still home to the Flintridge Riding Club and Flintridge Preparatory School.
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