How to Select a CDL Driving School near Duarte California
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Duarte CA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Duarte home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll get the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally in California and within the United States, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes 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 driving school near Duarte CA, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License 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. Some 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Duarte CA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Duarte CA truck driver schools are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver 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. Having said that, even the top Duarte CA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the California licensing department to confirm 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 instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Duarte CA schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the Duarte CA school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While 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 receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. 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 furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Duarte CA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some Duarte CA trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to 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 opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in California, ask if the Duarte CA schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Duarte 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 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 accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession in Duarte CA. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance 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 placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed in Duarte CA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Trucker?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What compelled you to choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to organize a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Right Truck Driver School Duarte CA
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Duarte CA.
A Bit About Duarte California
Duarte (/ˈdwɑːrtiː/ or /duːˈɑːrteɪ/; from Spanish or Portuguese [ˈdwaɾte]) is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 21,321, down from 21,486 at the 2000 census.
It is bounded to the north by the San Gabriel Mountains, to the north and west by the cities of Bradbury and Monrovia, to the south by the city of Irwindale, and to the east by the cities of Irwindale and Azusa.
Duarte is located on historic U.S. Route 66 which today follows Huntington Drive through the middle of the city. The town holds an annual Salute to Route 66 Parade on the third weekend in September on Huntington Drive.
Duarte is located at 34°08′25″N 117°57′42″W / 34.140416°N 117.961678°W / 34.140416; -117.961678.
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