How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Ben Lomond California
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Ben Lomond CA. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Ben Lomond home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills 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 cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in California and within the United States, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses 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 driving school near Ben Lomond CA, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are brief summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 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 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Ben Lomond CA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Ben Lomond CA truck driver schools are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Ben Lomond CA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the California licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in California and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction 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 professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Ben Lomond CA schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the Ben Lomond CA school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Ben Lomond CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of Ben Lomond CA truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified 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 associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. 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 remember to inquire if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in California, ask if the Ben Lomond CA schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at California testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Ben Lomond CA school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend 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 needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession in Ben Lomond CA. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out 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 in Ben Lomond CA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Trucker?When preparing to interview for a Trucking job, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a truck driver, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Right Trucking School Ben Lomond CA
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate 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 in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Ben Lomond CA.
A Bit About Ben Lomond California
Ben Lomond, California
The mountain was named by John Burns, a Scot who settled on the west side of the ridge in 1851. Burns named the mountain after one in Scotland. Ben Lomond means "beacon peak" in Brittonic. Burns became one of the first vintners in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and is usually also credited with naming the community of Bonny Doon. The San Lorenzo River watershed contains extensive forests of Coast redwood, and was an early center of the logging/lumber industry in Santa Cruz County. The community was originally known as Pacific Mills, after a sawmill operation located there. When, in 1887, the community applied for a U.S. Post Office, residents voted to adopt the name of the mountain.
Ben Lomond is located on State Highway 9, about 12 miles from Santa Cruz, California and 34 miles from San Jose, California (the nearest major city) at 37°5′24″N 122°5′24″W / 37.09000°N 122.09000°W / 37.09000; -122.09000 (37.09, -122.09). According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 8.4 square miles (22 km2). The San Lorenzo River runs through it, in what is known locally as the San Lorenzo Valley, which runs SE/NW to the east of Ben Lomond Mountain (really a long ridge whose highest point has an elevation of 810m/2660 ft).
The National Weather Service has kept weather records for Ben Lomond since 1937. The Western Climate Center reports that Ben Lomond has an average annual rainfall of 49.00 inches and an average annual snowfall of 0.2 inch. January is the coldest month with a normal maximum of 61.5 °F (16.4 °C) and a normal minimum of 36.9 °F (2.7 °C). August is the warmest month with a normal maximum of 85.5 °F (29.7 °C) and a normal minimum of 50.4 °F (10.2 °C).
The record high temperature was 112 °F (44 °C) on October 8, 1996, and July 22, 2006, and the record low temperature was 15 °F (−9 °C) on December 22, 1990. There are an average of 39.2 days annually with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and 34.8 days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower.
More Cities of Interest in California