How to Select a Truck Driver School near San Dimas California
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near San Dimas CA. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your San Dimas residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
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 three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near San Dimas CA, we will discuss Class A and 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 brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 CDL is needed to drive 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the San Dimas CA truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few San Dimas CA truck driving schools are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked 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 San Dimas CA schools had to begin from their first 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 provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the California licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in California and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of San Dimas CA schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the San Dimas CA school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the San Dimas CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of San Dimas CA trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in California, find out if the San Dimas CA schools you are reviewing 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 centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the San Dimas CA school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote 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 accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career in San Dimas CA. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance 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 must be completed in San Dimas CA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What compelled you to choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a truck driver, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must ready several approaches about how you want to answer them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School San Dimas CA
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in San Dimas CA.
A Bit About San Dimas California
San Dimas, California
San Dimas is a city in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 33,371. The city historically took its name from San Dismas Canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains above the northern section of present-day San Dimas. San Dimas is named in Spanish after Saint Dismas.
The first known European exploration of the area was in 1774, when Juan Bautista De Anza passed through on the first overland expedition of Las Californias, from New Spain-Mexico towards Monterey Bay. The area was originally developed in 1837 with the Mexican land grant from Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado to Ygnacio Palomares and Ricardo Vejar for the Rancho San Jose, then in Alta California. It later became known as La Cienega Mud Springs, so named because of local mud springs that created a riparian marsh and healing place. Palomares and Vejar conducted sheep and cattle operations on Rancho San Jose, also growing crops for consumption by the residents of the rancho. In the early 1860s, a severe drought decimated the ranch's population of sheep and cattle. Ygnacio Palomares died in 1864, and his widow began selling the ranch land in 1865. Vejar lost his share by foreclosure to two Los Angeles merchants, Isaac Schlesinger and Hyman Tischler, in 1864. In 1866, Schlesinger and Tischler sold the ranch to Louis Phillips.
It was the arrival of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley Railroad in 1887, later purchased by Santa Fe Railroad, that led to La Cienega Mud Springs being first mapped. The ensuing land boom resulted in the formation of the San Jose Ranch Company, which first laid out streets. Small businesses began to open soon thereafter, and the city took on a new name: San Dimas. Growth was rapid, and San Dimas soon became an agricultural community. Wheat and other Midwestern United States crops were planted first; then orange and lemon groves covered the town and the San Gabriel Valley. At one time, four citrus packing houses and a marmalade factory were located in San Dimas. The Sunkist name originated here, first spelled "Sunkissed." Oranges were the major crop and business in San Dimas until the mid-20th century.
San Dimas incorporated as a city in 1960, and is now known for its western art, small town feel and equestrian qualities. In the 1990s San Dimas was also host to the Miss Rodeo California State Pageant, run by A. F. "Shorty" Feldbush and various other city volunteers. The week long pageant was held in conjunction with the city's Western Days and Rodeo, until the pageant moved to its new home in central California.
More Cities of Interest in California