How to Decide on the Right Trucking School near Blue Lake California
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Blue Lake CA. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Blue Lake residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll receive the right 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 professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Blue Lake CA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class 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 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 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 operate 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Blue Lake CA trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Blue Lake CA area are accredited because of the rigorous 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 several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Blue Lake CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the California licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding 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 time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Blue Lake CA schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish lots 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 necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable 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 Blue Lake CA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different 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 choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Blue Lake CA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Blue Lake CA school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Blue Lake CA employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Blue Lake 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 examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Blue Lake CA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Blue Lake California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Blue Lake, California
Blue Lake (formerly, Scottsville) is a city in Humboldt County, California, United States. Blue Lake is located on the Mad River, 16 miles (26 km) northeast of Eureka, at an elevation of 131 feet (40 m). The population was 1,253 at the 2010 census, up from 1,135 in 2000.
Present Blue Lake comprises "old" Blue Lake, Powersville, and Scottsville. In 1854, Augusta Bates settled in the Scottsville area and sold to Brice M. Stokes in 1862. In 1861, the 13-acre Blue Lake was formed from flooding of the north fork of Mad River, and it gave the town a resort atmosphere. As the river changed course in the 1920s, the lake disappeared to become what today is a small pond on private property.
In 1866, William Scott purchased land from Brice M. Stokes and established "Scott's Farm," later becoming Scottsville. Powersville was established in 1869 by David Powers on land originally claimed by Augusta Bates, Brice M. Stokes and William Scott.
Driving School CDL Blue Lake CA
Picking the right truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Driving School CDL. However, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Blue Lake CA.
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