How to Pick the Best Trucker School near Leggett California
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Leggett CA. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Leggett residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll get the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge 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 discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Leggett CA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Leggett CA trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Leggett CA area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided 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 get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Leggett CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior 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 good standing.
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 discuss more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially 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 drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Leggett CA schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide sufficient 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 essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Leggett CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Leggett CA schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in California, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at California testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Leggett CA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career. 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, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Leggett CA employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Leggett CA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out 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 need to be completed.
CDL Truck School Leggett California
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Truck School and wanting information on the topic CDL Training And Job Placement. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Leggett CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
Leggett (formerly, Leggett Valley) is a census-designated place in Mendocino County, California. It is located on the South Fork of the Eel River 17 miles (27 km) northwest of Laytonville, at an elevation of 984 feet (300 m). It is home to some of the largest trees in the world. Nearby Smithe Redwoods State Reserve and the Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area are noted for their forests of Coastal Redwoods. The population was 122 at the 2010 census.
The town of Leggett includes a single gas station, United States Post Office, K-12 school, a small grocery store, restaurant, full service mechanic (ask a local), fire station and the Drive-Thru Tree.
This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Leggett has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.