How to Pick a Truck Driving School near Orland California
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Orland CA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to think about before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Orland home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills 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 choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally in California and within the USA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Orland CA, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Orland CA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Orland CA trucking schools are accredited because of the rigorous 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 required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Orland CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the California licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Orland CA schools provide training courses that range 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 already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the Orland CA school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver 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 operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among 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. Get in touch with the Orland CA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some Orland CA truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in California, ask if the Orland CA schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Orland CA school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new profession in Orland CA. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask 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 placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed in Orland CA.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Best CDL School Orland CA
Picking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to look into 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 choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Orland CA.
A Bit About Orland California
Orland is a city in Glenn County, California. The population was 7,291 at the 2010 census (7932 in 2018 according to the CA Dept Finance) up from 6,281 at the 2000 census, making Orland the most populous and fastest growing city in Glenn County. Orland is located 16 miles (26 km) north of Willows, at an elevation of 259 feet (79 m).Interstate 5, (north–south) passes west of the downtown area while State Route 32 (east–west) passes through downtown.`
The Sacramento River runs 10 miles (16 km) East of Orland and Black Butte Lake sits 8 miles (13 km) West. The Black Butte Lake dam drains into Stony Creek, which flows about a half-mile north of the Orland Arch.
In 1908 Orland was the namesake of one of the first irrigation projects of the newly formed United States Bureau of Reclamation, the Orland Project, authorized by the Newlands Reclamation Act. The 1910 East Park Dam and other area dams still provide agricultural irrigation water.
During World War II, Orland was selected by the United States Army as the location for an airfield that was used for training pilots. Aircraft used at Orland included the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Scenes for several films used for training pilots and aircrew members were produced at Orland. Constructed of a large square of thick, reinforced concrete, most of the airfield is now a civil airport operated by Glenn County. Until 1982, Amtrak's Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle stopped here.
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