How to Select the Right Trucking School near Bell California
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Bell CA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to think about before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Bell home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Bell CA, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and 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 summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required 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 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 CDL is needed to operate 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. Some 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 need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Bell CA trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Bell CA area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense 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 certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed 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 Bell CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the California licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in California and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Bell CA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important 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 requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Bell CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Bell CA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in California, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at California testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Bell CA school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. 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 have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure 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, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Bell CA employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Bell CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Bell CA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Bell California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Bell is an incorporated city in Los Angeles County, California, near the center of the former San Antonio Township (abolished after 1960). Its population was 35,477 at the 2010 census, down from 36,664 in the 2000 census. Bell is located on the west bank of the Los Angeles River and is a suburb of the city of Los Angeles. At 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), Bell is the thirteenth smallest city in the United States with a population of at least 25,000.
In 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked Bell's land area at 1245 out of 1257 cities (defined as incorporated areas) and two unincorporated areas that had a population of at least 25,000 in year 2000. Ten cities in the list of 1267 cities had no land area data (e.g., Goleta, California).
City residents voted to become a charter city in a special municipal election on November 29, 2005. Fewer than 400 voters turned out for that special election. More than half of those votes were dubiously obtained absentee votes. Being a charter city meant that city officials were exempt from state salary caps. A scandal ensued, in which several city officials were indicted for giving themselves extraordinarily high salaries.
Tractor Trailer Training Bell CA
Choosing the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new vocation 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 a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Tractor Trailer Training. However, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases 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 choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Bell CA.
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