How to Choose a Trucking School near Cerritos California
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Cerritos CA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Cerritos residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow 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? 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 CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally in California and within the USA, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Cerritos CA, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries for 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 CDL 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Cerritos CA truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are several additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Cerritos CA trucking schools are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Cerritos CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the California licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in California and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly 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 be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Cerritos CA schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the Cerritos CA school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide lots of 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good standard 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 Cerritos CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain Cerritos CA truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in California, find out if the Cerritos CA schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Cerritos CA school you enroll in offers 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 prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new career in Cerritos CA. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed in Cerritos CA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Trucker?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask truck driving prospects is "What made you select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for being a trucking operator, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should organize a number of strategies about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Best Truck Driver School Cerritos CA
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is an essential 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 shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Cerritos CA.
A Bit About Cerritos California
Cerritos (Spanish for little hills), formerly named Dairy Valley because of the preponderance of dairy farms in the area, is a suburban city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, and is one of several cities that constitute the Gateway Cities of southeast Los Angeles County. It was incorporated on April 24, 1956. As of the 2010 census, the population was 49,041. It is part of the Los Angeles–Long Beach–Anaheim, California Metropolitan Statistical Area designated by the Office of Management and Budget.
Cerritos was originally inhabited by Native Americans belonging to the Tongva (or "People of the Earth"). Later, the Tongva would be renamed the "Gabrieleños" by the Spanish settlers after the nearby Mission San Gabriel Arcangel. The Gabrieleños were the largest group of Southern California Indians as well as the most developed in the region. The Gabrieleños lived off the land, deriving food from the animals or plants that could be gathered, snared, or hunted, and grinding acorns as a staple.
Beginning in the late 15th century, Spanish explorers arrived in the New World and worked their way to the California coast in 1542. The colonization process included "civilizing" the native populations in California by means of establishing various missions. Soon afterwards, a town called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula (Los Angeles today) would be founded and prosper with the aid of subjects from New Spain and Native American labor.
One soldier, José Manuel Nieto, was granted a large plot of land by the Spanish King Carlos III, which he named Rancho Los Nietos. It covered 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of what are today the cities of Cerritos, Long Beach, Lakewood, Downey, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, part of Whittier, Huntington Beach, Buena Park, and Garden Grove.
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