How to Select a Truck Driver School near Mount Shasta California
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Mount Shasta CA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Mount Shasta residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll get the right education. 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 goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in California and within the United States, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Mount Shasta 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 together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short 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. Some 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 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 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 types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Mount Shasta CA trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Mount Shasta CA truck driving schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost 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 several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Mount Shasta CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the California licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in California and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Mount Shasta CA schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the Mount Shasta CA school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Mount Shasta CA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain Mount Shasta CA truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in California, find out if the Mount Shasta CA schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Mount Shasta CA school you choose provides 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 willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession in Mount Shasta CA. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed in Mount Shasta CA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Truck Driver?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a trucker, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must ready some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Right CDL School Mount Shasta CA
Choosing the right trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower 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 option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Mount Shasta CA.
A Bit About Mount Shasta California
Mount Shasta, California
Mount Shasta (also known as Mount Shasta City) is a city in Siskiyou County, California, at about 3,600 feet (1,100 m) above sea level on the flanks of Mount Shasta, a prominent northern California landmark. The city is less than 9 miles (14 km) southwest of the summit of its namesake volcano. As of the 2010 Census the city had a population of 3,394, down from 3,624 at the 2000 census.
The city of Mount Shasta is located in the Shasta Cascade area of Northern California. Visitors use the city as a base for trout fishing in the nearby Sacramento, McCloud and Klamath rivers, for climbing at Mount Shasta, Castle Crags or the Trinity Alps, or to view scenery. Both alpine and cross-country skiing runs are available nearby as well as biking or hiking to waterfalls, streams and lakes in the area, including nearby Mossbrae Falls, Lake Siskiyou, Castle Lake and Shasta Lake.
The site of the present-day city of Mount Shasta was within the range of the Okwanuchu tribe of Native Americans. During the 1820s, early Euro-American trappers and hunters first passed through the area, following the path of the Siskiyou Trail. The Siskiyou Trail was based on a network of ancient Native American footpaths connecting California and the Pacific Northwest. The discovery of gold at nearby Yreka, California in 1851 dramatically increased traffic along the Siskiyou Trail and through the site of present-day Mount Shasta. Pioneer Ross McCloud built one of the first lumber mills in the area, near the site of the present Sisson Museum. The completion of a stagecoach road between Yreka and Upper Soda Springs in the late 1850s led to the building of Sisson's Hotel, as a stop for weary travelers, and as a staging ground for adventuresome tourists intending to climb Mount Shasta.
The area where the town grew was known first as Strawberry Valley, and then as Berryvale. The post office opened in 1870 as Berryvale. After 1886 it was known as Sisson after a local businessman, Justin Hinckley Sisson who ran a stagecoach inn and tavern as well as donated the land for the town site and the Central Pacific Railroad station in 1886. Street names honor members of Sisson's family.
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