How to Enroll in the Best CDL Training School near Banning California
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Banning CA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it's imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you'll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Banning residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal method to make certain you'll obtain the proper training. Don't forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills 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 select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Is Required?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Banning CA, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three license classes 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 driver school, we will discuss 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). Below are brief summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 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 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 specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
After you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Banning CA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are some more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Banning CA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school's course is certified (the course, 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 Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Banning CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school's history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won't supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to check with the California licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in California and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Banning CA schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it's imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. 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 important that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few 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.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. After all, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Banning CA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It's possible to get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified 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 relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Banning CA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it's essential that the Banning CA school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you're having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Banning CA employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Banning CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Choose the Best Banning CA Truck Driving Training
Picking the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local 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 vital to a new driver's success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It's your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Banning CA.