Truck Driver School Valley Center CA

How to Choose the Right Trucker School near Valley Center California

tractor truck in Valley Center CA Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Valley Center CA. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Valley Center home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?

Valley Center CA long haul tractor trailerTo operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Valley Center CA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 Commercial Drivers License is required 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, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.

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How to Assess a Trucking School

Valley Center CA truck driving schoolAs soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Valley Center CA trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some additional points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Valley Center CA area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Valley Center CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the California licensing authority to confirm 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 employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Valley Center CA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to 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 level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Valley Center CA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Valley Center CA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in California, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at California testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Valley Center CA school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote 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 fit in working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Valley Center CA employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Valley Center CA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.

Truck Driver School Valley Center California

Valley Center CA long haul truckSelecting the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driver School and wanting information on the topic Get My CDL.  But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need 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 enroll in an independent CDL 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 decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Valley Center CA.

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    Valley Center, California

    The 2010 United States Census[5] reported that Valley Center had a population of 9,277. The population density was 178.3 people per square mile (130.6/km²). The racial makeup of Valley Center was 2,285 (73.1%) White with 64.0% of the population non-Hispanic whites, 58 (0.9%) African American, 188 (2.0%) Native American, 295 (3.2%) Asian, 16 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 584 (16.0%) from other races, and 425 (4.6%) from two or more races. 27.8% of the population was Hispanic.[6]

    There were 1,000 households, out of which 1,120 (37.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,035 (67.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 43 (7.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 142 (4.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 127 (4.2%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 21 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 239 households (15.4%) were made up of individuals and 193 (6.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.08. There were 2,389 families (79.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.38.

    The population was spread out with 1,250 people (24.3%) under the age of 18, 414 people (8.9%) aged 18 to 24, 694 people (20.9%) aged 25 to 44, 1,003 people (33.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 539 people (12.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 100 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.4 males.

     

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