How to Find the Right Truck Driving School near Los Alamitos California
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Los Alamitos CA. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Los Alamitos home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Los Alamitos CA, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type 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 CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 CDL is required to drive 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 may also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Los Alamitos CA truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are a few more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Los Alamitos CA area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Los Alamitos CA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the California licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
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 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 receiving the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Los Alamitos CA schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will furnish 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 necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable benchmark 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 Los Alamitos CA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations 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 surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Los Alamitos CA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in California, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Los Alamitos CA school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Make sure 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, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Los Alamitos CA employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Los Alamitos CA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Cost Of CDL Training Los Alamitos California
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to launching 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 a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Cost Of CDL Training and wanting information on the topic Certified CDL Truck Driving Schools. However, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Los Alamitos CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
Los Alamitos, California
Los Alamitos ("The Little Cottonwoods" in Spanish) is a city in Orange County, California. The city was incorporated in March 1960. The population was 11,449 at the 2010 census, down from 11,536 at the 2000 census. The adjacent unincorporated community of Rossmoor uses Los Alamitos in its mailing address, but is not part of the city. The Los Alamitos Race Course is named for the city, but lies in the neighboring city of Cypress.
The history of the area during the Californio period and after U.S. annexation is detailed in the article on Rancho Los Alamitos. The town of Los Alamitos was established in 1896 by Lewellyn Bixby to support the new sugar beet factory in town built by the extremely wealthy Clark Brothers. William Andrews Clark, a future Senator from Montana, had built his fortune in mining, banking and logging in that state. His younger brother, J. Ross Clark, managed their operations in California after he moved to that state for health reasons. Lewellyn Bixby, whose family owned the surrounding land on the Rancho Los Cerritos and Rancho Los Alamitos, had been trying to build a sugar beet factory in that area for a few years but, due to financial losses in the 1880s, he no longer had the financial capital to undertake the sugar beet factory complex on his own. Bixby had made his fortune back in the 1850s when he and his cousins Benjamin and Thomas Flint, formed Flint, Bixby & Co. which became a thriving entity in mutton and wool, all originally housed on the Rancho San Justo, south of San Jose. After making an additional fortune from selling wool to the government during the Civil War, the Flints and Bixby bought up many properties in Southern California. One was the future Irvine Ranch and another was the Rancho Los Cerritos which makes up much of the western half of Long Beach. Flint, Bixby hired Lewellyn's younger brother Jotham to manage the Cerritos. When Flint, Bixby broke up Lewellyn assumed their Southern California properties and moved to Los Angeles and became the senior partner in his operations with his brother Jotham.
Around 1881, a cousin, John W. Bixby wanted to purchase the Rancho Los Alamitos. John W. put together a consortium of himself, his cousins Lewellyn and Jotham (owners of Rancho Los Cerritos) and banker I.W. Hellman to finance the purchase of the Alamitos land. Upon John's sudden death on May 7, 1887, the ranch was divided between the three owning families. The northern third adjacent to the Rancho Los Cerritos — the land roughly north of present Orangewood Ave.—went to the Lewellyn-Jotham faction (which later became the Bixby Land Company). By the mid-1890s, after the crash following the land boom of the 1880s—this group was relatively cash-poor and land rich. Having experimented in Northern California with sugar beets, the Bixbys agreed to provide the land, and contracted with Montana copper baron William A. Clark to provide the capital, and got E.A. Dyer to provide the expertise to build a new sugar beet factory on the Bixby's land. The community that grew up around this new sugar beet factory complex—with its streets of company houses for workers and surrounding farms—came to be called Los Alamitos. (As part of his arrangement to build and operate the sugar beet factory, William Clark and his brother H. Ross, who actually ran the Los Alamitos operation, also received 1,000 acres east of the factory and a year later completed a purchase of 8,000 acres (32 km2) of land north of the sugar plant—most of the latter in the Rancho Los Cerritos boundaries—that would eventually become the Long Beach Airport, Long Beach City College, and the city of Lakewood. Also, Clark and Hellman were intricately involved with the machinations and corporate dealings of railroad tycoon E. H. Harriman and Henry Edwards Huntington and the destiny of the Southern Pacific in Southern California. In addition, some time after establishing Los Alamitos, the Clarks completed their railroad from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, establishing the desert stop of Las Vegas in the process.
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