How to Choose a Truck Driving School near Yountville California
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Yountville CA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Yountville home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal method to make sure you’ll receive the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills 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 select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Yountville CA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 choose a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 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 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 might also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Yountville CA truck driving 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 sole considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Yountville CA area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Yountville CA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the California licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good 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 instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Yountville CA schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent 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 real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Yountville CA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement 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 maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, 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 limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Yountville CA schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in California, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Yountville CA school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. 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 commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Yountville CA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Yountville CA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Yountville CA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Yountville California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Yountville (/ˈjɔːntvɪl/ or /ˈjaʊntvɪl/) is an incorporated town in Napa County, in California's Wine Country. It is in the North Bay portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 2,933 at the 2010 census. Almost one-third of the town's population lives on the grounds of the Veterans Home of California.
Yountville was named after George C. Yount in 1867. Previously the town was named Sebastopol in 1855. However, a town in nearby Sonoma County had already laid claim to this name, so the town was renamed after George Yount’s death.
Among the restaurants in Yountville is The French Laundry, owned by Chef Thomas Keller, with a three-star rating from the Michelin Guide, and a two-time winner of the title "best restaurant in the world" by "The Worlds 50 Best" restaurant rating organization. Keller also owns another restaurant in Yountville, Ad Hoc. Michelin one-star restaurants in Yountville for 2015 also include Bouchon, another Thomas Keller Restaurant. Two other Yountville restaurants have Michelin's "Bib Gourmand" rating: Philippe Jeanty's Bistro Jeanty and Redd Wood.
Choose the Best CDL School Yountville CA
Picking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may need 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 select an independent trucker 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 no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Yountville CA.
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