How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Rancho Palos Verdes California
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Rancho Palos Verdes CA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Rancho Palos Verdes residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll get the appropriate education. 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 purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address 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 CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate 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 one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Rancho Palos Verdes CA, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. Several 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 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. Several 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 may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Rancho Palos Verdes CA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some 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 Accredited or Certified ? Not many Rancho Palos Verdes CA truck driving schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Rancho Palos Verdes CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the California licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in California and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal attention 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Rancho Palos Verdes CA schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the Rancho Palos Verdes CA school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to 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.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Rancho Palos Verdes CA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from certain Rancho Palos Verdes CA trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations 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 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 only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent 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 trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in California, find out if the Rancho Palos Verdes CA schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at California testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Rancho Palos Verdes 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 spend 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 Placement Offered? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession in Rancho Palos Verdes CA. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted in Rancho Palos Verdes CA.
Why Did You Want to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should prepare a number of ideas about how you want to address them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Trucking School Rancho Palos Verdes CA
Selecting 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 offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced 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 company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Rancho Palos Verdes CA.
A Bit About Rancho Palos Verdes California
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Rancho Palos Verdes (also known by the abbreviation RPV) is a city in Los Angeles County, California atop the Palos Verdes Hills and bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. A suburb of Los Angeles, it is known for expensive homes amidst large tracts of open space with expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. Rancho Palos Verdes is translated as "Ranch of Green Sticks", probably referring to the willows in the northeastern part of Bixby Slough (now known as Machado Lake) shown on earlier maps.
The history of Rancho Palos Verdes dates back to the Tongva or Gabrielino Indians, who inhabited the site before the Age of Discovery. Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was credited as the first European to navigate the California Coast in 1542, which included the hills of Rancho Palos Verdes. Rancho de los Palos Verdes was established by a Mexican land grant given in 1846 by Governor Pío Pico to Jose Loreto and Juan Capistrano Sepulveda.
The city's most notable geographic features are the Palos Verdes Hills and cliffs, with grand vistas of the Pacific Ocean and of Santa Catalina Island. The city incorporated on September 7, 1973. The population was 41,643 at the 2010 census.
The Point Vicente Interpretive Center is a premier whale-watching site that provides spectacular opportunities to view the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale from December through April. The center opened in 1984 with a mission to present and interpret the unique features and history of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The almost 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) expanded Interpretive Center, reopened on July 15, 2006, features exhibits on the natural and cultural history of the peninsula, with a special emphasis on the Pacific gray whale. The Point Vicente Lighthouse, built in 1926, is adjacent to the center and is on the National Register of Historic Places. At another location along the coast, Wayfarers Chapel, designed by Lloyd Wright and built between 1949 and 1951, is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
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