How to Select the Best CDL Driving Classes near Oakhurst California
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Oakhurst CA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Oakhurst residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal method to make sure you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Oakhurst CA, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class 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 brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive 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. Some 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Oakhurst CA trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized 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 similarly or even more important. So below are some more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Oakhurst CA area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Oakhurst CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the California licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in California and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher 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 look out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Oakhurst CA schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Oakhurst CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different 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 freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Oakhurst CA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in California, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at California testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Oakhurst CA school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. 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 have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Oakhurst CA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Oakhurst CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining 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 School Cost Oakhurst California
Selecting the appropriate truck driving 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 forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL School Cost and wanting information on the topic I Want To Be A Truck Driver. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want 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 driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Oakhurst CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
Oakhurst (formerly Fresno Flats) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Madera County, California, 14 miles (23 km) south of the entrance to Yosemite National Park, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. At the 2010 census, the population was 2,829, down from 2,868 at the 2000 census. According to the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce, the area population was 12,787 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Madera–Chowchilla metropolitan statistical area.
Oakhurst is located on the Fresno River 3 miles (4.8 km) south-southwest of Yosemite Forks, at an elevation of 2274 feet (693 m). Its coordinates are 37°19′41″N 119°38′58″W / 37.32806°N 119.64944°W / 37.32806; -119.64944. It is located at the junction of state highways 41 and 49, at the southern end of California's Gold Country. Nearby communities include Ahwahnee, Coarsegold and Bass Lake.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 6.006 square miles (15.56 km2), of which 5.999 square miles (15.54 km2) is land and 0.007 sq mi (0.018 km2) (0.12%) is water.