How To Choose CDL Classes San Luis Obispo CA

How to Choose the Right CDL Driving Classes near San Luis Obispo California

tractor truck in San Luis Obispo CA Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near San Luis Obispo CA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your San Luis Obispo home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to ensure you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your goal 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 objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?

San Luis Obispo CA long haul tractor trailerTo drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and San Luis Obispo CA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will discuss 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 brief explanations for the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. Some 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 needed to drive 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.

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How to Evaluate a CDL School

San Luis Obispo CA truck driving schoolOnce you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the San Luis Obispo CA truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the San Luis Obispo CA area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common 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 caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top San Luis Obispo CA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the California licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next 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 obtaining the personalized instruction 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of San Luis Obispo CA schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several 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 important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to 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 ability to train them.

Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary between 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. Check with the San Luis Obispo CA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called 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 free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the San Luis Obispo CA schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the San Luis Obispo CA school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many San Luis Obispo CA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other San Luis Obispo CA area technical or vocational 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 a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.

How To Choose CDL Classes San Luis Obispo California

San Luis Obispo CA long haul truckSelecting the ideal trucking school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Choose CDL Classes and wanting information on the topic School For Truck Driving.  But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to think about 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 choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in San Luis Obispo CA.

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    San Luis Obispo, California

    San Luis Obispo (/sæn ˌluːɪs əˈbɪspoʊ/;[11]Spanish for "St. Louis, Bishop [of Toulouse]", pronounced [san ˈlwis oˈβispo]; Obispeño: tiłhini, "Place of the full moon" [12]), or SLO (/sloʊ/) for short, is a city in the U.S. state of California, located roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Central Coast of Southern California. The population was 45,119 at the 2010 census.[13] The population of San Luis Obispo County was 269,637 in 2010.

    Founded in 1772 by Spanish Franciscan Junípero Serra, San Luis Obispo is one of California's oldest European-founded communities. Serra's original mission was named after the 13th-century saint and bishop Louis of Toulouse. The city, locally referred to as San Luis, SLO, or SLO Town (as its county is also referred to as SLO) is the county seat of San Luis Obispo County and is adjacent to California Polytechnic State University.

    The earliest human inhabitants of the local area were the Chumash people. One of the earliest villages lies south of San Luis Obispo and reflects the landscape of the early Holocene when estuaries came farther inland. The Chumash people used marine resources of the inlets and bays along the Central Coast and inhabited a network of villages, including sites at Los Osos and Morro Creek.[14]

     

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