How to Pick the Right CDL Driving Classes near Redwood City California
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Redwood City CA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Redwood City home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Redwood City CA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and 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). Following are short explanations for the two 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. 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 CDL is needed 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. 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 might also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Redwood City CA truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are several more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Redwood City CA area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense 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 required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 Business? One clue to help measure 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. On the other hand, even the top Redwood City CA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the California licensing authority 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 should be licensed in California and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal 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 professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Redwood City CA schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative 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 fluctuates among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Redwood City CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different 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 flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Redwood City CA schools you are contemplating 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 grads. If onsite testing is permitted in California, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at California testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Redwood City CA school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Redwood City CA employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Redwood City CA area trade or technical 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 must be completed.
CDL Truck Training Redwood City California
Picking the right truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession 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 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 Truck Training and wanting information on the topic CDL A Training. However, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Redwood City CA.
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Redwood City, California
Redwood City is a city on the San Francisco Peninsula in Northern California's Bay Area, approximately 27 miles (43 km) south of San Francisco, and 24 miles (39 km) northwest of San Jose. Redwood City's history spans its earliest inhabitation by the Ohlone people to being a port for lumber and other goods. The county seat of San Mateo County in the heart of Silicon Valley, Redwood City is home to several global technology companies including Oracle, Electronic Arts, Evernote, Box, and Informatica. The city had an estimated population of 86,685 in 2017. The Port of Redwood City is the only deepwater port on San Francisco Bay south of San Francisco. Redwood City is the location of the San Mateo County Jail, for both women and men. The Hetch Hetchy water pipeline runs through Redwood City and supplies a vast majority of the surrounding area with low grain (+/− 3 grains) rated water.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 34.7 square miles (90 km2), of which 19.4 square miles (50 km2) is land and 15.2 square miles (39 km2) (43.91%) is water. A major watercourse draining much of Redwood City is Redwood Creek, to which several significant river deltas connect, the largest of which is Westpoint Slough.
Redwood City stretches from the San Francisco Bay towards the Santa Cruz Mountains between San Carlos to the northwest and Atherton to the southeast with Woodside to the southwest. It is divided by Highway 101 and further inland El Camino Real on the northwest/southeast axis and Woodside Road on the north-northeast/south-southwest axis. Locally, the former two are regarded as north/south and the latter east/west, as 101 and El Camino connects Redwood City to San Francisco and San Jose and Woodside Road runs from San Francisco Bay to the Santa Cruz Mountains.
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