How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Ceres California
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Ceres CA. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Ceres home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally in California and within the USA, an operator must attain 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. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Ceres CA, we will focus on Class A and Class 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). Following are short summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 more 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 might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Ceres CA trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Ceres CA truck driver schools are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Ceres CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the California licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in California and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Ceres CA schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the Ceres CA school and talk to the instructors face to face. 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 qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Ceres CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of Ceres CA truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly 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 inquire if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in California, ask if the Ceres CA schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Ceres CA school you select 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 prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career in Ceres CA. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted in Ceres CA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Truck Driver?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask truck driving applicants is "What compelled you to pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a trucker, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Best CDL School Ceres CA
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive 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 many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Ceres CA.
A Bit About Ceres California
The newspaper in Ceres is called The Ceres Courier. It has been in publication since 1910. The offices of the Ceres Courier were relocated from an address in downtown Ceres in 2012. It has since combined day-to-day operations with its sister paper, The Turlock Journal, in Turlock, CA . Jeff Benziger was appointed Editor in 1987. There is also a Spanish-language paper.
Ceres hosts annual events at different times of the year. Spring brings the Ceres Street Faire on the first weekend in May. Concert in the Park is a regular summer event. Halloween Fun Festival marks the Fall followed by the colorful, and much-attended, Christmas Tree Lane opening ceremony.
The first non-native families that inhabited Ceres were those of John Service, Cassius Warner, and Daniel Whitmore in the year 1867. Daniel C. Whitmore is considered the first family and founder of Ceres. He built his home in 1870, the Whitmore Mansion at 2928 5th Street. That home still stands, fully restored by the city and the Ceres Historical Society.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Ceres has a total area of 8.0 sq mi(20.8 km²), 99.9% of it land and 0.1% of it water. The formation of alluvial fans in the San Joaquin Valley has led to a rather flat regional geography. There are no known active earthquake fault traces in the project vicinity. (Earth Metrics, 1989) Hydrological feature mapping of the Ceres area has been conducted by the U. S. Geological Survey. (USGS, 2003)
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