How To Choose A CDL Driving School Westlake Village CA

How to Choose the Right CDL Training Classes near Westlake Village California

tractor truck in Westlake Village CA Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Westlake Village CA. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Westlake Village residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable 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? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?

Westlake Village CA long haul tractor trailerTo operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Westlake Village CA, a driver needs to attain 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 focus on Class A and Class 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 brief explanations 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 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 CDL is needed to drive 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. A few 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 require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.

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How to Assess a Trucking School

Westlake Village CA truck driving schoolAfter you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Westlake Village CA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Westlake Village CA area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 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 reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Westlake Village CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts 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 compliance.

How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized 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 comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Westlake Village CA schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method 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 satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish sufficient 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 operating a truck. While 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 become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Westlake Village CA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified 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 associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Westlake Village CA schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in California, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at California testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Westlake Village CA school you choose provides 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 spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Westlake Village CA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Westlake Village CA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.

How To Choose A CDL Driving School Westlake Village California

Westlake Village CA long haul truckSelecting the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation 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 vital to a new driver’s success.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Choose A CDL Driving School and wanting information on the topic Semi Truck Driving School.  However, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Westlake Village CA.

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    Westlake Village, California

    Westlake Village is a city in Los Angeles County on its western border with Ventura County. The population was estimated to be at 8,473 in 2014,[5] up from 8,368 at the 2000 census. The headquarters of the Dole Food Company is located in Westlake Village.

    The planned community of Westlake was built with a lake at the center straddling the line between Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Roughly two-thirds of it was annexed by the city of Thousand Oaks in two portions, in 1968 and 1972. In 1981, the remaining third incorporated into the City of Westlake Village which became the 82nd municipality of Los Angeles County.[6][7][6]

    About 3,000 years ago, Chumash Indians moved into the region and lived by hunting rabbits and other game, and gathering grains and acorns. On-going excavations, archaeological sites, and polychrome rock paintings in the area provide a glimpse into the social and economic complexity of the ancient Chumash world.[8][9][10]

     

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