Truck Driver Classes Salinas CA

How to Choose the Right Trucker School near Salinas California

tractor truck in Salinas CA Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Salinas CA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Salinas residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder 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 Need?

Salinas CA long haul tractor trailerIn order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Salinas CA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick 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). Following are short explanations of the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 CDL is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including 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 drive.

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How to Assess a CDL School

Salinas CA truck driving schoolWhen you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Salinas CA trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Salinas CA area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Salinas CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the California licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Effective 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 teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized attention 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 teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Salinas CA schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional 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. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish plenty of 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Salinas CA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.

Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Salinas CA schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted 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 battling with graduates from other schools for test times at California testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Salinas CA school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure 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, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Salinas CA employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Salinas CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.

Truck Driver Classes Salinas California

Salinas CA long haul truckChoosing the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driver Classes and wanting information on the topic CDL Truck Driver Training.  However, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to look into 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 trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Salinas CA.

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    Salinas, California

    Salinas /səˈliːnəs/ is the county seat and largest municipality of Monterey County, California. Salinas is an urban area located just outside the southern portion of the Greater Bay Area and 10 miles (16 km) east-southeast of the mouth of the Salinas River.[11] The population was 157,218 as of 2016[update].[9] The city is located at the mouth of the Salinas Valley roughly eight miles from the Pacific Ocean and has a climate more influenced by the ocean than the hot-summer interior. The majority of residents live in single-unit detached homes, built between 1950 and 2000, while one third of the housing stock has three or more units per structure.[12] Salinas serves as the main business, governmental and industrial center of the region.[13] The marine climate is ideal for the floral industry, grape vineyards, and vegetable growers. Salinas is known for its vibrant and large agriculture industry and being "The Salad Bowl of the World" as the hometown of writer and Nobel Prize in Literature laureate John Steinbeck, who based several of his novels there.

    The land currently occupied by the city of Salinas is thought to have been settled by Native Americans known as the Esselen prior to 200 AD.[14] Between 200 and 500 AD, they were displaced by the Rumsen group of Ohlone speaking people. The Rumsen-Ohlone remained as the inhabitants of the area for approximately another 1,200 years, and in the 1700s, were the group of native inhabitants contacted and recorded by the first Spanish explorers of the Salinas area.

    Upon the arrival of the Spanish, large Spanish land grants were initially issued for the Catholic Missions and also as bonuses to soldiers. Later on after Mexican independence, smaller land grants continued to be issued for ranchos where mostly cattle were grazed. One of the many land grants was the Rancho Las Salinas land grant, part of which included the area of modern-day Salinas. As a result of the many new cattle ranches, a thriving trade eventually developed in cattle hide shipments, shipping primarily out of the Port of Monterey.[15]

     

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