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How to Select the Right CDL Driving Classes near Banning California

Banning California tractor trailer stopped on of intestate roadCongratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Banning CA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it's important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you'll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Banning home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to ensure you'll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder 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?

Banning California concrete mixing truck

In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Banning CA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief descriptions 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.

How to Assess a CDL School

Banning California truck driving school campus

As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Banning CA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Banning CA area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Banning 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 history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won't provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to check with the California licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.

How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in California and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Banning CA schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it's imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some 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.

Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will furnish plenty 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 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 Captive or Independent ? It's possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom 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 best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Banning CA schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in California, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at California testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it's imperative that the Banning CA school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you're having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out 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 recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Banning CA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.

Find Out More About Banning CDL Driver Schools

Enroll in the Right Banning CA CDL Training

Choosing the right truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver's success.  However, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to consider 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 enroll in an independent CDL 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 part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Banning CA.