How to Find a Truck Driver School near Gridley California
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Gridley CA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Gridley residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in California and within the USA, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Gridley CA, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions for the 2 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 Commercial Drivers License 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 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 may also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Gridley CA trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Gridley CA truck driver schools are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered 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 standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Gridley CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the California licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
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 discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Gridley CA schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the Gridley CA school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide sufficient 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Gridley CA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain Gridley CA truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in California, ask if the Gridley CA schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at California testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Gridley CA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession in Gridley CA. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed in Gridley CA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Trucker?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What made you decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you must organize a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Right Truck Driver School Gridley CA
Picking the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may 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 enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Gridley CA.
A Bit About Gridley California
Gridley is a city in Butte County, California, United States. The estimated 2017 population was 6,704. California State Route 99 runs through Gridley and Interstate 5 and California State Route 70 are both nearby.
The City of Gridley was named after its founder and earliest landowner, George W. Gridley, a prosperous sheep rancher. Mr. Gridley's home ranch consisted of some 960 acres (3.9 km2) located West of Gridley. He married Helen Orcutt in 1846 in Illinois, and she joined him in California in 1855. The Gridleys had ten children. Mr. Gridley died at the home ranch on 9 March 1881, Mrs. Gridley twenty years later, 1 August 1901. Descendants of the Gridley family remain in the area.
With the decline of mining in California, agriculture became a more stable and attractive business in the 1860s. The Central Pacific Railroad laid tracks from Oregon to Chico in 1865. The railroad completed its path to Gridley in 1870, contributing significantly to the formation of the new community. The principal products from the Gridley area were wool and sheep. Orchards, field crops, and cattle would soon follow. In 1896, the Libby, McNeil & Libby Cannery was established and became one of the largest peach canning operations in the world. The first home and store in Gridley were built by L.C. Stone in 1874. Stone served as postmaster, the train depot and express agent, as well as a merchant. Wells Fargo & Co. opened its office in 1871 and soon other businesses followed suit.
In response to a "The Place Where Crops Never Fail" advertising campaign by the California Irrigated Land Company, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began emigrating from the Rexburg, Idaho area to Gridley in November 1906. By February of the following year the Gridley Branch of the church was organized and more Latter-day Saints continued coming to Gridley from Idaho, Nevada, Utah and other states, effectively turning this small farming community into a Mormon enclave.
More Cities of Interest in California