How to Select a CDL Driving School near Cupertino California
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Cupertino CA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Cupertino residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills 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 decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder 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?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in California and within the USA, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Cupertino CA, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are brief summaries of the two 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 CDL is required 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Cupertino CA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Cupertino CA trucking schools are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Cupertino CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the California licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction 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 professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Cupertino CA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the Cupertino CA school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, 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 actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Cupertino CA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain Cupertino CA trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in California, ask if the Cupertino CA schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Cupertino CA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new career in Cupertino CA. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving 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 assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted in Cupertino CA.
Why Did You Want to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What compelled you to choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a trucker, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you should organize a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Right Trucking School Cupertino CA
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local 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 offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to think about 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 select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Cupertino CA.
A Bit About Cupertino California
Cupertino (/ˌkuːpərˈtiːnoʊ/ KOOP-ər-TEEN-oh) is a U.S. city in Santa Clara County, California, directly west of San Jose on the western edge of the Santa Clara Valley with portions extending into the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The population was 58,302 as of the 2010 census.Forbes ranked it as one of the most educated small towns, with local public schools ranking highly in the country. It is known as the home of the Apple Inc. corporate headquarters.
Cupertino was named after Arroyo San José de Cupertino (now Stevens Creek). The creek had been named by Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza's cartographer, who named it after Saint Joseph of Cupertino. Saint Joseph was born Giuseppe Maria Desa, and later known as Giuseppe da Copertino. Joseph of Cupertino was named after the town of Copertino in the Apulia region of Italy. The name Cupertino first became widely used when John T. Doyle, a San Francisco lawyer and historian, named his winery on McClellan Road "Cupertino". After the turn of the 20th century, Cupertino displaced the former name for the region, which was "West Side".
Although the meaning of "Copertino" is uncertain, it is likely a compound word meaning "little (covered) shelter." The -ino suffix in Italian words indicates "small" or "little", while "coprire" in Italian means "to cover", and "coperto" is derived from the Latin "coopertus," which means "covered shelter."
Cupertino in the 19th century was a small rural village at the crossroads of Stevens Creek Road and Saratoga-Mountain View Road (also known locally as Highway 9; later Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, and then renamed to De Anza Boulevard within Cupertino city limits). Back then, it was known as the West Side and was part of Fremont Township. The primary economic activity was fruit agriculture. Almost all of the land within Cupertino's present-day boundaries was covered by prune, plum, apricot, and cherry orchards. A winery on Montebello Ridge overlooking the Cupertino valley region was also in operation by the late 19th century.
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