How to Find the Right CDL Driving School near Westmorland California
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Westmorland CA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Westmorland home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Westmorland CA, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 required 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Westmorland CA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Westmorland CA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, 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. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will satisfy 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 poorly rated 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 Westmorland CA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the California licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Westmorland CA schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish sufficient 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential 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. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Westmorland CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular 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 instead of having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Westmorland CA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in California, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Westmorland CA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Westmorland CA employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Westmorland CA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Westmorland CA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Westmorland California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Westmorland (formerly, Westmoreland) is a city in Imperial County, California. Westmorland is located 8.5 miles (14 km) southwest of Calipatria. The population was 2,225 at the 2010 census, up from 2,131 in 2000. It is part of the El Centro Metropolitan Area.
Westmorland is on State Route 86, which was upgraded to a new six-lane highway to reduce its infamous auto accident and fatality risk, while it connects with Brawley, El Centro and Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico.
Westmorland is below sea level and sits behind a number of active faults. Seismic activity has been recorded several times during the 20th century, with tremors occurring in 1907, 1916, 1925, 1940, 1948, 1965 and 1979. The 1987 Superstition Hills event caused serious damage in Westmorland and the Imperial Valley.
I Want To Be A Truck Driver Westmorland CA
Choosing the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape 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 I Want To Be A Truck Driver. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to look into 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 enroll in 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 no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Westmorland CA.
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