How to Decide on a Truck Driver School near Reseda California
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Reseda CA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Reseda residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License 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 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Reseda 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). Following are brief descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 Commercial Drivers License is required 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. Some 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, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Reseda 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 considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Reseda CA truck driving schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered 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 standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Reseda CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. 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 share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the California licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes 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 takes time. Most Reseda CA schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the Reseda CA school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. After all, 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 essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Reseda CA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some Reseda CA trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the Reseda CA schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at California testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Reseda CA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession in Reseda CA. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask 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 may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are similar to 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 aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed in Reseda CA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Truck Driver?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a trucking operator, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must ready some ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Best CDL School Reseda CA
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital 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 manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want 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 select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm 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 in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Reseda CA.
A Bit About Reseda California
Reseda, Los Angeles
Reseda /rəˈsiːdə/ is a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1912, and its central business district started in 1915. The neighborhood was devoted to agriculture for many years. Earthquakes struck the area in 1971 and 1994.
The neighborhood has fifteen public and five private schools. The community includes public parks, a senior center and a regional branch library. Parts of Reseda have been used in several motion picture and television productions.
The area now known as Reseda, like much of Los Angeles County, originally was inhabited by Native Americans of the Tongva tribe who lived close to what is now known as the Los Angeles River.
On land that was originally part of the San Fernando Mission, Reseda originated in 1912 as the town of Marian. It was named after Marian Otis Chandler, the daughter of the Los Angeles Times publisher, Harrison Gray Otis and wife of Harry Chandler. The name Reseda itself refers to the fragrant plant Reseda odorata (English name is mignonette) which was commonly found in gardens of the time and is native to many areas with a Mediterranean climate.
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