How to Decide on a Truck Driver School near Yosemite National Park California
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Yosemite National Park CA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Yosemite National Park home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams 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 address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Yosemite National Park CA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify 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 B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief descriptions of the 2 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Yosemite National Park CA truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Yosemite National Park CA area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Yosemite National Park CA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the California licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in California and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Yosemite National Park CA schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. 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 qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Yosemite National Park CA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive 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 rather than maintaining relationships with a wide range of 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Yosemite National Park CA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in California, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at California testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Yosemite National Park CA school you choose 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 instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Yosemite National Park CA employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Yosemite National Park CA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Yosemite National Park CA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Yosemite National Park California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park (/joʊˈsɛmɪtɪ/, yoh-SEM-i-tee) is an American national park lying in the western Sierra Nevada of Central California, bounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. The park, which is managed by the U.S. National Park Service, covers an area of 747,956 acres (1,168.681 sq mi; 302,687 ha; 3,026.87 km2) and sits in four counties: centered in Tuolumne and Mariposa, extending north and east to Mono and south to Madera County. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness.
On average, about 4 million people visit Yosemite each year, and most spend the majority of their time in the 5.9 square miles (15 km2) of Yosemite Valley. The park set a visitation record in 2016, surpassing 5 million visitors for the first time in its history. Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea. First, Galen Clark and others lobbied to protect Yosemite Valley from development, ultimately leading to President Abraham Lincoln's signing the Yosemite Grant in 1864. Later, John Muir led a successful movement to establish a larger national park encompassing not just the valley, but surrounding mountains and forests as well—paving the way for the U.S. National Park system.
Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m) and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral and oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, and alpine. Of California's 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% within Yosemite. There is suitable habitat for more than 160 rare plants in the park, with rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy.
Select the Right Truck Driver School Yosemite National Park CA
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge 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 receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. 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 choose an independent trucking 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 choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Yosemite National Park CA.
More Trucking Locations in California