How to Find a CDL Training School near Gilroy California
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Gilroy CA. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to think about before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Gilroy residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll receive the right training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in California and within the USA, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Gilroy CA, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type 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 for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 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. A few 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 may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Gilroy CA trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some additional points that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Gilroy CA truck driver schools are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Gilroy CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms 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 department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Gilroy CA schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the Gilroy CA school and speak with the teachers in person. 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 ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will provide sufficient 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Gilroy CA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain Gilroy CA truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict 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.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in California, find out if the Gilroy CA schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Gilroy CA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote 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 accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career in Gilroy CA. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search 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 assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted in Gilroy CA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Trucker?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What made you choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for being a trucking operator, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must ready several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Gilroy CA
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets 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 crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may want 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 enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Gilroy CA.
A Bit About Gilroy California
Gilroy (/ˈɡɪlrɔɪ/) is a city located in Northern California's Santa Clara County, south of Morgan Hill and north of San Benito County. The city's population was 48,821 at the 2010 United States Census.
Gilroy is well known for its garlic crop and for the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, featuring various garlicky foods such as garlic ice cream, leading to the city's nickname as the "Garlic Capital of the World". Gilroy also produces mushrooms in considerable quantity. Gilroy is well known for boutique wine production, which is a large part of Gilroy's western portion, mostly consisting of family estates around the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west.
Spanish explorers led by Juan Bautista de Anza first passed through the Santa Clara Valley area in 1776, and in 1797 Mission San Juan Bautista was established near the Pajaro River. In 1809, Ygnacio Ortega was granted the 13,066-acre (5,288 ha) Spanish land concession Rancho San Ysidro. The village of San Ysidro (not to be confused with the present-day San Diego community) grew nearby, at the foot of Pacheco Pass which linked the El Camino Real and the Santa Clara Valley with the San Joaquin Valley. California's main exports at this time were hides and tallow, of which thousands of barrels were produced and shipped to the rest of New Spain. Trade and diplomatic intercourse with foreigners was strictly forbidden by the royal government but was quietly carried on by Californians desperate for luxury goods.
During the War of 1812, the armed merchantman Isaac Todd was sent by the North West Company to seize Fort Astoria, an American trading post at the mouth of the Columbia River. The ship, with a Royal Navy escort, departed from Portsmouth, England, made its way around Cape Horn and proceeded up the Pacific coast of the Americas, stopping at Spanish ports for supplies along the way. In January 1814, having fallen behind its escort, the Isaac Todd arrived at Monterey, California, the Spanish colonial government center for Alta California. During the visit, ordinary seaman John Gilroy (a Scotsman who had changed his name from John Cameron when he went to sea to avoid recognition) either (depending on the historical source) jumped ship or was left ashore to recover from scurvy.
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