How to Choose a Trucking School near Meadow Valley California
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Meadow Valley CA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Meadow Valley residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Meadow Valley CA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries of 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. 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Meadow Valley CA trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional points that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Meadow Valley CA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Meadow Valley CA schools had to begin 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 pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with 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 should be licensed in California and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, 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 professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Meadow Valley CA schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although 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 teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Meadow Valley CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up 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 ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Meadow Valley CA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Meadow Valley CA school you choose provides 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 spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask 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 lower job placement rate or not many Meadow Valley CA employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Meadow Valley CA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Meadow Valley CA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Meadow Valley California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Meadow Valley, California
This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Meadow Valley has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Meadow Valley had a population of 464. The population density was 54.5 people per square mile (21.0/km²). The racial makeup of Meadow Valley was 435 (93.8%) White, 0 (0.0%) African American, 13 (2.8%) Native American, 0 (0.0%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 4 (0.9%) from other races, and 12 (2.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21 persons (4.5%).
There were 231 households, out of which 41 (17.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 115 (49.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 7 (3.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 5 (2.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 15 (6.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 0 (0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 82 households (35.5%) were made up of individuals and 39 (16.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.01. There were 127 families (55.0% of all households); the average family size was 2.62.
Select the Best Truck Driving School Meadow Valley CA
Picking the right truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape 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. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Meadow Valley CA.
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