How to Find a Trucking School near Yolo California
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Yolo CA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Yolo home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Yolo CA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight 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). Below are brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 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 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. 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Yolo CA truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are a few more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Yolo CA area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Yolo CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the California licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in California and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Yolo CA schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained 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 a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide ample 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 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 he or she will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Yolo CA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously 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 make sure to find out if the Yolo CA schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in California, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at California testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Yolo CA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Yolo CA employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Yolo CA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Yolo CA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Yolo California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Yolo County, California
Yolo County, officially the County of Yolo, is a county located in the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 200,849. Its county seat is Woodland.
Much of Yolo County remains a relatively rural agricultural region. This is evidenced by the multibillion-dollar California tomato industry that accounts for 90% of the canned and processed tomato production in the United States and 35% worldwide, to which Yolo County is a major contributor.
In the original act of 1850 the name was spelled "Yola." Yolo is a Native American name variously believed to be a corruption of a tribal name Yo-loy meaning "a place abounding in rushes" or of the name of the chief, Yodo, or of the village of Yodoi. Due to the acronym YOLO meaning "you only live once," Yolo County and the unincorporated community of Yolo have unusual place names.
Pick the Right Trucking School Yolo CA
Selecting the appropriate truck driver 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 mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Yolo CA.
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