How to Pick the Best Trucker School near March Air Force Base California
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near March Air Force Base CA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your March Air Force Base home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address 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 CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and March Air Force Base CA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving 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). Following are short summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 CDL is required to operate 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. Several 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the March Air Force Base CA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the March Air Force Base CA area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking 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 top March Air Force Base CA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the California licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in California and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most March Air Force Base CA schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the March Air Force Base CA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific 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 rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the March Air Force Base CA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the schools you are considering 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 indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the March Air Force Base CA school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio 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 low job placement rate or few March Air Force Base CA employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other March Air Force Base CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Truck Driver Training Program March Air Force Base California
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of 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 Driver Training Program and wanting information on the topic How To Choose A Truck Driver School. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money 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 firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in March Air Force Base CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
March Air Reserve Base
March Air Reserve Base (IATA: RIV, ICAO: KRIV, FAA LID: RIV) (March ARB), previously known as March Air Force Base (March AFB) is located in Riverside County, California between the cities of Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Perris. It is the home to the Air Force Reserve Command's Fourth Air Force (4 AF) Headquarters and the host 452d Air Mobility Wing (452 AMW), the largest air mobility wing of the Fourth Air Force. In addition to multiple units of the Air Force Reserve Command supporting Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Forces, March ARB is also home to units from the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, California Air National Guard and the California Army National Guard. For almost 50 years, March AFB was a Strategic Air Command base during the Cold War. The facility covers 2,075 acres (840 ha) of land.
The host unit at March is the Air Force Reserve's 452d Air Mobility Wing (452 AMW), which in addition to its operational flying mission, also provides host base support for numerous tenant units. March JARB is also the home to Headquarters, Fourth Air Force (4 AF) of the Air Force Reserve Command and multiple units of the California Air National Guard.
Since 1995, March ARB has hosted alert site operations of the California Air National Guard's 144th Fighter Wing (144 FW), which is also operationally-gained by Air Combat Command. Prior to 2013, the 144 FW stationed F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, initially consisting of F-16C/D Block 25, then F-16C/D Block 32, on alert at March. Following the wing's transition to the F-15 Eagle, the 144 FW now stations an air defense alert detachment F-15C/D Eagle aircraft at this operating location in support of USNORTHCOM and NORAD.
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