Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Pacific Grove CA

How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Pacific Grove California

Pacific Grove CA truck driving school campusCongrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Pacific Grove CA. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Pacific Grove residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective 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 rest 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 Should You Get?

long haul tractor trailer in Pacific Grove CAIn order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Pacific Grove CA, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 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. A few 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 may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.

How to Research a Truck Driving School

Questions to ask Pacific Grove CA truck driving schoolsAfter you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Pacific Grove CA trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are several additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Pacific Grove CA area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Pacific Grove CA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the California licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.

How Good 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 instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Pacific Grove CA schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask 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. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a good standard 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 Pacific Grove CA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Pacific Grove CA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 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 benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Pacific Grove CA school you enroll in 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 teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working 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 acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Pacific Grove CA employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Pacific Grove CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Pacific Grove CA?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Pacific Grove California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Pacific Grove, California

Pacific Grove is a coastal city in Monterey County, California in the United States. The United States Census Bureau estimated its 2013 population at 15,504.[8] Pacific Grove is located between Point Pinos and Monterey.[1]

Pacific Grove is known for its Victorian homes, Asilomar State Beach, and is also known as "Butterfly Town U.S.A." for the annual migration of the monarch butterflies. The city is endowed with more historical houses per capita than anywhere else in California. Seventy-five percent of the homes in Pacific Grove are considered historical. Some of them have been turned into bed and breakfast inns.

The city is also known as the location of the Point Pinos Lighthouse, the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast. The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History and Pacific Grove Art Center are located in the historic downtown. Pacific Grove was also the main filming location for Roger Spottiswoode's 1989 film Turner & Hooch , A Summer Place, starring Sandra Dee and the series Big Little Lies.

Choose the Best Truck Driver School Pacific Grove CA

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Pacific Grove CASelecting the right truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to look into 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 trucking 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 entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Pacific Grove CA.

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