CDL Training Classes Near Me Walnut Creek CA

How to Pick the Best Truck Driving Classes near Walnut Creek California

tractor truck in Walnut Creek CA Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Walnut Creek CA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Walnut Creek residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal means to guarantee you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.

Which CDL Will You Require?

Walnut Creek CA long haul tractor trailerIn order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Walnut Creek CA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations of 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. A few 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 greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.

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How to Assess a Truck Driver School

Walnut Creek CA truck driving schoolAfter you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Walnut Creek CA trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Walnut Creek CA area are accredited due to the stringent 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 required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Walnut Creek CA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the California licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.

How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Walnut Creek CA schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will provide lots 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Walnut Creek CA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.

Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Walnut Creek CA schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in California, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Walnut Creek CA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. 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 responsibilities.

Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out 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 placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Walnut Creek CA employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Walnut Creek 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 reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.

CDL Training Classes Near Me Walnut Creek California

Walnut Creek CA long haul truckPicking the right truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold 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 CDL Training Classes Near Me and wanting information on the topic Obtaining CDL License.  But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Walnut Creek CA.

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    Walnut Creek, California

    Walnut Creek is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, about 16 miles (26 kilometres) east of the city of Oakland. With a total estimated population of 69,122, Walnut Creek serves as a hub for its neighboring cities because of its location at the junction of the highways from Sacramento and San Jose (I-680) and San Francisco/Oakland (SR-24) and its accessibility by BART. Its active downtown neighborhood features hundred-year-old buildings and extensive high-end retail establishments, restaurants and entertainment venues.

    There are three bands of Bay Miwok Indians associated with early Walnut Creek:[8][9] the Saclan, whose territory extended through the hills east of present-day Oakland, Rossmoor, Lafayette, Moraga and Walnut Creek; the Volvon (also spelled Bolbon, Wolwon and Zuicun) near Mt. Diablo; and the Tactan located on the San Ramon Creek in Danville and Walnut Creek.

    Today's Walnut Creek is located within the earlier site of four Mexican land grants. One of these land grants – measuring 18,000 acres (73 km2) – belonged to Juana Sanchez de Pacheco, who eventually passed the land down to her two grandsons. Ygnacio Sibrian, one of the grandsons, created the first roofed home in the valley in about 1850. The grant was called Rancho Arroyo de Las Nueces y Bolbones, named after the principal waterway, Arroyo de las Nueces (Walnut Creek), as well as for the local group of indigenous Americans (Bolbones). The Arroyo de las Nueces was named for the evidence of the native species of walnut tree, the California Walnut.

     

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