How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Monterey California
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Monterey CA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Monterey residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss 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 drive commercial vehicles lawfully in California and within the USA, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Monterey CA, we will highlight Class A and Class 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 two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 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. 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Monterey CA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Monterey CA truck driving schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated 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 Monterey CA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the California licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in California and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal 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 claims it can train 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 skillfully requires time. Most Monterey CA schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the Monterey CA school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide lots of 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Monterey CA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of Monterey CA truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to receive 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 CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the Monterey CA schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Monterey CA school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career in Monterey CA. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed in Monterey CA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask truck driving applicants is "What made you choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucker, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Because there are several factors that go into selecting 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 strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Right CDL School Monterey CA
Picking the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital 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 fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might 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 select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Monterey CA.
A Bit About Monterey California
Monterey is a city located in Monterey County in the U.S. state of California, on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on California's Central Coast. It stands at an elevation of 26 feet (8 m) above sea level, on a land area of 8.466 sq mi (21.93 km2).The 2010 census recorded a population of 27,810.
Monterey was the capital of Alta California under both Spain and Mexico. It was the only port of entry for taxable goods in California. In 1846, the U.S. flag was raised over the Customs House, and California became part of the United States after the Mexican–American War.
The city had California's first theater, public building, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper. The city and surrounding area have attracted artists since the late 19th century and many celebrated painters and writers have lived there. Until the 1950s, there was an abundant fishery.
Among Monterey's notable present-day attractions are the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf and the annual Monterey Jazz Festival.
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