How to Select the Right CDL Driving School near Santee California
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Santee CA. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Santee residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll receive the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick 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 CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Santee CA, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and 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 short descriptions 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 greater 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 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 need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Santee CA trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Santee CA area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks 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 poorly reviewed 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 Santee CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple 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 provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the California licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in California and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Santee CA schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish lots 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Santee CA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive 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 associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Santee CA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in California, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at California testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Santee 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 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Santee CA employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Santee CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Getting A CDL Santee California
Selecting the right trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available 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 Getting A CDL and wanting information on the topic CDL School Training. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Santee CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
Santee is a suburban city in San Diego County, California, with a population of 53,413 at the 2010 census. Although it is a part of the East County region, Santee is located just 18 miles (29 km) from the Pacific Ocean. The city is connected to the coastline by State Route 52, a six-lane freeway that runs from Interstate 5 in La Jolla to State Route 67 in El Cajon. The city is bisected by the San Diego River, a linear greenbelt that includes parks, trails and more than 1,100 acres (450 ha) of natural riparian habitat.
In 2010, the city was populated by 19,272 households, of which 64 percent had incomes greater than $45,000 annually. In 2009, the median household income was $78,872 per year, according to the San Diego Association of Governments. In 2010, Santee had one of the lowest crime rates among cities in San Diego County. Unlike most of the county's coastal cities, Santee still has sizable portions of vacant land suitable for development. It is a growing suburban community that in recent years has added upscale housing, a major corporate business park and expansive shopping centers, along with a destination recreational complex called Sportsplex USA Santee.
Sports: Sportsplex USA Santee, a 15-acre (6.1 ha) sports field complex, opened on June 1, 2010. Located within Town Center Community Park, it features three lighted softball fields, four batting cages, two lighted arena soccer fields, spectator seating, parking and a sports-themed restaurant offering food, beer and wine. Santee has hosted the 2012 and 2016 US Olympic Trials for the 50K racewalk on a course along Mast Blvd. below Santana High School.
Business Results 1 - 10 of 104