How to Select the Right Truck Driving School near Avenal California
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Avenal CA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Avenal residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Avenal CA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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. Several 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 need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Avenal CA trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are a few more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Avenal CA area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator 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 usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Avenal CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the California licensing department to make sure 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 employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized 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 professes it can train 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 takes time. Most Avenal CA schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide plenty of 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Avenal CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Avenal CA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at California testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Avenal CA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending 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 acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Avenal CA employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Avenal 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Avenal CA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Avenal California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Avenal is a city in Kings County, California, United States. Avenal is located 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Hanford, at an elevation of 807 ft (246 m). It is part of the Hanford–Corcoran Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA Code 25260), which encompasses all of Kings County. In area, it is the largest city in Kings County. The Zip Code for this community is 93204, and telephone numbers use the sequence (559) 386-XXXX. The population was 15,505 in the 2010 census, which includes inmates at the Avenal State Prison, the first prison actively solicited by a community in the state of California. Many of the remaining residents largely either work at the prison or in the agriculture industry. The prison provides approximately 1,000 jobs to residents. The California Department of Finance estimated that Avenal's population was 13,159 on January 1, 2015. As of that date, Avenal State Prison held 4,165 inmates, which was about 32% of the total population of Avenal. Inmates are counted as city residents by both the United States Census and the California Department of Finance.
The City of Avenal was named by Spanish soldiers and explorers. In Spanish, "avena" means oats, and "avenal" means oatfield. This area was covered with wild oats, "waist high," that looked like golden silk and covered the Kettleman Plains.
Early American settlers arrived in the Kettleman Hills during the 1850s with dreams of raising cattle and farming. Oil, however, would bring fame, fortune and people to the area. Native Americans had always known oil was in the hills, with natural seepage around Coalinga and Tar Canyon. The first Kettleman Hills well was drilled in 1900, followed by countless unproductive efforts.
Tractor Trailer Driving School Avenal CA
Selecting the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Tractor Trailer Driving School. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Avenal CA.
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