How to Decide on a CDL Training School near Livermore California
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Livermore CA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Livermore home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in California and within the United States, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes 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 Livermore CA, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate 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 CDL is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Livermore CA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Livermore CA trucking schools are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill 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 operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Livermore CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the California licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in California and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. 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 obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Livermore CA schools provide 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 Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. 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 crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the Livermore CA school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Livermore CA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of Livermore CA truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the Livermore CA schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Livermore CA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain 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 accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession in Livermore 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 grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed in Livermore CA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Truck Driver?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask truck driving applicants is "What made you pick trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a truck driver, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must ready some strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Choose the Right CDL School Livermore CA
Picking the right trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even 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 choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Livermore CA.
A Bit About Livermore California
Livermore (formerly Livermores, Livermore Ranch, and Nottingham) is a city in Alameda County, California, in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 89,648, Livermore is the most populous city in the Tri-Valley. Livermore is located on the eastern edge of California's San Francisco Bay Area. The incumbent Mayor of Livermore is John Marchand.
Livermore was founded by William Mendenhall and named for Robert Livermore, his friend and a local rancher who settled in the area in the 1840s. Livermore is the home of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, for which the chemical element livermorium is named (and thus, placing the city's name in the periodic table). Livermore is also the California site of Sandia National Laboratories, which is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Its south side is home to local vineyards. The city has redeveloped its downtown district and is considered part of the Tri-Valley area, comprising Amador, Livermore and San Ramon valleys.
Before its incorporation in 1796 under the Franciscan Mission San Jose, located in what is now the southern part of Fremont, the Livermore area was home to some of the Ohlone (or Costanoan) native people. Each mission had two to three friars and a contingent of up to five soldiers to help keep order in the mission and to help control the natives. Like most indigenous people in California, the natives in the vicinity of Mission San Jose were mostly coerced into joining it, where they were taught Spanish, the Catholic religion, singing, construction, agricultural trades and herding—the Native Californian people originally had no agriculture and no domestic animals except dogs. Other tribes were coerced into other adjacent missions. The Mission Indians were restricted to the mission grounds where they lived in sexually segregated "barracks" that they built themselves with padre instruction. The population of all California missions plunged steeply as new diseases ravaged the Mission Indian populations—they had almost no immunity to these "new to them" diseases, and death rates over 50% were not uncommon.
The Livermore-Amador Valley after 1800 to about 1837 was primarily used as grazing land for some of the Mission San Jose's growing herds of mission cattle, sheep and horses. The herds grew wild with no fences and were culled about once a year for cow hides and tallow—essentially the only money-making products produced in California then. The dead animals were left to rot or feed the California grizzly bears which then roamed the region. The secularization and closure of the California missions, as demanded by the government of Mexico, from 1834 to 1837 transferred the land and property the missions claimed on the California coast (about 1,000,000 acres (400,000 ha) per mission) to about 600 extensive ranchos. After the missions were dissolved, most of the surviving Indians went to work on the new ranchos raising crops and herding animals where they were given room and board, a few clothes and usually no pay for the work they did—the same as they had had while working in the missions. Some Indians joined or re-joined some of the few surviving tribes.
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