How to Select a Trucking School near Mountain View California
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Mountain View CA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Mountain View residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target 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 review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in California and within the United States, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Mountain View CA, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed 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 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. A few 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 require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance 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 Research a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Mountain View CA truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are a few more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Mountain View CA truck driver schools are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get 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 satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. 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 Mountain View 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 concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the California licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in California and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Mountain View CA schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the Mountain View CA school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few 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.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Mountain View CA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain Mountain View CA truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in California, find out if the Mountain View CA schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at California testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Mountain View CA school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career in Mountain View CA. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out 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 employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed in Mountain View CA.
Why Did You Want to Become a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a trucker, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must organize some approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Right CDL School Mountain View CA
Picking the right trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to think about 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 firm of your choice, or one of several associated 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 trucker in Mountain View CA.
A Bit About Mountain View California
Mountain View, California
Mountain View is a city located in Santa Clara County, California, United States, named for its views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. From its origins as a stagecoach stop, it grew to a large suburb with a pedestrian-friendly downtown and a population of 74,066. The city borders Palo Alto and the San Francisco Bay to the north, Los Altos to the south, and Moffett Federal Airfield and Sunnyvale to the east.
Situated in the southern end of the Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the northwest corner of Santa Clara county, Mountain View is home to many high technology companies. In 1956, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, the first company to develop silicon semiconductor devices in what came to be known as Silicon Valley, was established in the city by William Shockley. Today, many of the largest technology companies in the world are headquartered in the city, including Google, Mozilla Foundation, Symantec, and Intuit. The original Byte Shop computer store was opened at 1063 El Camino Real, Mountain View, by Paul Terrell, and the first 50 Apple I computers were sold from that location. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority integrates the city with the neighboring cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Sunnyvale.
The Mexican land grant of Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas was given in 1842 by Alta California Governor Juan Alvarado to Francisco Estrada. This grant was later passed on to Mariano Castro, who sold half of the land to Martin Murphy, Jr. Eventually, the former land grant became the cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale.
The area, which is on the southwest shore of San Francisco Bay, was settled in 1852 as a stagecoach station. By the early 1900s, it was a shipping point for fruit and grain, as well as a center of religious book publishing.
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