How to Decide on a CDL Training School near Hesperia California
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Hesperia CA. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Hesperia residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to learn 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 decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder 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 Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in California and within the United States, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 pick a truck driving school near Hesperia 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 together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate 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 more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Hesperia CA truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are several additional points that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Hesperia CA trucking schools are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. 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 evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Hesperia CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the California licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in California and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning 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 frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Hesperia CA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the Hesperia CA school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Hesperia CA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain Hesperia CA truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships 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 flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in California, find out if the Hesperia CA schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at California testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Hesperia CA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession in Hesperia CA. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask 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 must be completed in Hesperia CA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What made you select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a trucking operator, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should organize several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Pick the Right Trucking School Hesperia CA
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Hesperia CA.
A Bit About Hesperia California
Hesperia is a city in San Bernardino County, California, United States 35 miles (56 km) north of downtown San Bernardino in Victor Valley. This portion of the Mojave Desert is referred to as the High Desert due to the unique and moderate weather patterns. 2015 census estimates report that the City has a total population of 92,755.
Hesperia's origins began as a Spanish land grant: Rancho San Felipe, Las Flores y el Paso del Cajon, founded in 1781. The first inhabitants were Serrano Indians. They lived in the normally dormant Mojave River bed, but the land was sparsely inhabited desert during Spanish-Mexican rule in the 19th century. The U.S. annexed the region along with Southern California after the Mexican-American War in 1848.
The town site was laid out in 1891 by railroad company land developers of the US & Santa Fe Railroad completed that year. Hesperia was named for "Hesperus", the Greek god of the west. The railroad land developers published pamphlets distributed across the country with boosterism of Hesperia, California, as a potential metropolis: to become "the Omaha of the West" or projections to have over 100,000 people by the year 1900, but only 1,000 moved in.
Hesperia grew relatively slowly until the completion of US Routes 66, 91 and 395 in the 1940s followed by Interstate 15 in the late 1960s. A total of 30 square miles (78 km2) of land was laid out for possible residential development. In the early 1950s, land developer M. Penn Phillips and his silent financial partner, the famous boxer Jack Dempsey, financed the building of roads and land subdivisions, promoting lots sales on television. They built the Hesperia Inn and golf course which attracted a variety of Hollywood celebrities. The Hesperia Inn also housed the Jack Dempsey Museum. But the main wave of newcomers arrived at Hesperia in the 1980s. Suburban growth transformed the small town of 5,000 people in 1970 to a moderate-sized community of over 60,000 by the year 2000.
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