CDL Truck Driver Schools near Lakewood CA 90711

How to Choose a CDL Training School near Lakewood California

Lakewood CA CDL truck driving schoolCongratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Lakewood CA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Lakewood home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on 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 review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?

tractor trailer in Lakewood CATo operate commercial vehicles legally in California and within the USA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify 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 Lakewood 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 descriptions of the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. Several 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 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 might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.

How to Evaluate a CDL School

Lakewood CA tractor truckOnce you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Lakewood CA truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Lakewood 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 quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated 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 top Lakewood CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the California licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.

How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Lakewood CA schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the Lakewood CA school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish ample 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary 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 Lakewood CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of Lakewood CA truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with a wide range of 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. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the Lakewood CA schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Lakewood CA school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career in Lakewood CA. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are much like 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 reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted in Lakewood CA.

Why Did You Desire to Be a Truck Driver?

When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready several approaches about how you would like to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.

Pick the Ideal Truck Driver School Lakewood CA

tanker truck driving in {Lakewood CAChoosing the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills 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 vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even 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 entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Lakewood CA.

A Bit About Lakewood California

Lakewood, California

Lakewood is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 80,048 at the 2010 census. It is bordered by Long Beach on the west and south, Bellflower on the north, Cerritos on the northeast, Cypress on the east, and Hawaiian Gardens on the southeast. Major thoroughfares include Lakewood (SR 19), Bellflower, and Del Amo Boulevards and Carson and South Streets. The San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) runs through the city's eastern regions.

Sometimes called "an instant city" because of its origins, going from lima bean fields in 1950 to a well-developed city by 1960, Lakewood is a classic example of a post–World War II American suburb.

Lakewood is a planned, post-World War II community.[9] Developers Louis Boyar, Mark Taper and Ben Weingart are credited with "altering forever the map of Southern California."[9] Begun in late 1949, the completion of the developers' plan in 1953 helped in the transformation of mass-produced housing from its early phases in the 1930s and 1940s to the reality of the 1950s.[9]

WWII veterans could get home loans with no down payment and a 30-year mortgage at only 4 percent interest. On the first day of sales, on March 24, 1950, an estimated 30,000 people lined up to walk through a row of seven model houses. By the end of April, more than 200,000 people had flocked to the Lakewood Park sales office and more than 1,000 families had purchased homes (30 per day on average). Once, 107 homes sold in just one hour. The monthly cost was $44 to $56, including principal, interest and insurance.

 

 

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