How to Find the Right CDL Driving School near Victor California
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Victor CA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Victor home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose 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 review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Victor CA, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class 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). Below are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 greater 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 may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Victor CA trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are several more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Victor CA area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, 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. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Victor CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the California licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in California and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next 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 personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Victor CA schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish ample 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Victor CA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering 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 some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Victor CA schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third 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 reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at California testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Victor CA school you select offers 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 instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Victor CA employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Victor CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Certified CDL Truck Driver Training Victor California
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Certified CDL Truck Driver Training and wanting information on the topic Tractor Trailer Driving School. However, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want 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 enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, 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 part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Victor CA.
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