How to Find a CDL Training School near Point Reyes Station California
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Point Reyes Station CA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Point Reyes Station residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in California and within the USA, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Point Reyes Station CA, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate 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 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 operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Point Reyes Station CA trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Point Reyes Station CA trucking schools are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an 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 meet the very high standards 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 operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Point Reyes Station CA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the California licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Point Reyes Station CA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative 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 be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit the Point Reyes Station CA school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide lots 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 driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Point Reyes Station 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 Point Reyes Station CA trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified 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 a wide range of 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 flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember 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 some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in California, ask if the Point Reyes Station CA schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Point Reyes Station CA school you enroll in provides 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 commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession in Point Reyes Station CA. Verify 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, 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 hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted in Point Reyes Station CA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Trucker?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask truck driving applicants is "What made you select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but additionally what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Point Reyes Station CA
Choosing the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation 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 several options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive 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 may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated 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 trucker in Point Reyes Station CA.
A Bit About Point Reyes Station California
Point Reyes Station, California
Point Reyes Station (formerly, Marin and Olema Station) is a small unincorporated town located in western Marin County, California. Point Reyes Station is located 13 miles (21 km) south-southeast of Tomales, at an elevation of 39 feet (12 m). Point Reyes Station is located along State Route 1 and is a gateway to the Point Reyes National Seashore, an extremely popular national preserve. About 350 people live in the town. It is also the name of a census-designated place (CDP) in northern California covering the unincorporated town and surrounding countryside, with a total CDP population of 848.
Point Reyes Station is located at 38°04′09″N 122°48′25″W / 38.06917°N 122.80694°W / 38.06917; -122.80694, just south and east of the southern end of Tomales Bay, and slightly east of the San Andreas Fault just before the fault submerges down the center of Tomales Bay.
Formerly an actual port and railway terminus, Point Reyes Station, CA nominally borders Tomales Bay; the introduction of European cattle and planting of European grass seed on the natural hills caused destructive erosion and a combination of small dirt dams, silting, and intentional landfill for farming raised the level of former salt marshes and has left Point Reyes Station approximately 0.8-mile (1.3 km) from the nearest tidal flats, and that after expenditure of millions of dollars and recent efforts for reclamation of the natural environment.
Once land of the Coast Miwok Indians, Point Reyes Station gets its name from the nearby Point Reyes Peninsula (a major peninsula sticking out into the Pacific Ocean) and its status as a terminus stop on the North Pacific Coast Railroad connecting Cazadero to the Sausalito ferry.
More Cities of Interest in California