How to Pick the Best CDL Training Classes near Banning California
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Banning CA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it's essential to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you'll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Banning residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you'll obtain the right education. Don't forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover 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 Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Banning CA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations for the 2 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 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 might also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Banning CA trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Banning CA area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense 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 certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Banning CA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school's track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won't provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to get in touch with the California licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in California and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Banning CA schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it's imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Banning CA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It's possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having 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 be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Banning CA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in California, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it's essential that the Banning CA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you're having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Banning CA employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Banning CA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enroll in the Right Banning CA CDL Driver Training
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need 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 trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It's your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Banning CA.