How to Enroll in the Right Truck Driving School near Blairsden-Graeagle California
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Blairsden-Graeagle CA. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Blairsden-Graeagle residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your objective 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 pick 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 CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Blairsden-Graeagle CA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 needed to drive 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. Several 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Blairsden-Graeagle CA trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are several additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Blairsden-Graeagle CA area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Blairsden-Graeagle CA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask 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 also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea 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? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in California and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Blairsden-Graeagle CA schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Blairsden-Graeagle CA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different 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 choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Blairsden-Graeagle CA schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide 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 permitted 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 other schools for test times at California testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Blairsden-Graeagle CA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates 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 not many Blairsden-Graeagle CA employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Blairsden-Graeagle CA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Blairsden-Graeagle CA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Blairsden-Graeagle California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Graeagle is a census-designated place (CDP) located about 60 miles (97 km) from Reno, Nevada and 46 miles (74 km) from Truckee, California in Plumas County, California, United States. The population was 737 at the 2010 census, down from 831 at the 2000 census.
The town of Graeagle was founded in 1916, as a lumber town, and established a post office in 1919 with the moniker of Davies Mill. It was named Graeagle after a naming contest to select a better name than "Davies' Mill;" the winning entry contracted "Grey Eagle Creek" to Graeagle. This name may have some connection with Edward D Baker, the "Gray Eagle of Republicanism," who was in the mining region in 1856 while stumping the state for Frémont.
Graeagle Lumber Company was owned by the California Fruit Exchange and employed hundreds in logging, lumber production and to manufacture box shook (boxes for picking and shipping fruit and vegetables) from the 1920s to the 1950s. Modernization closed the mill in 1956, the box factory in 1957 and the town was acquired by the West family in 1959.
How To Become A CDL Driver Blairsden-Graeagle CA
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Become A CDL Driver. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to think about 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 truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Blairsden-Graeagle CA.
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