How to Enroll in the Best Trucker School near Beverly Hills California
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Beverly Hills CA. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it's essential to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you'll need to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Beverly Hills residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best way to guarantee you'll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target 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 commercial driver's license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Beverly Hills CA, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three license classes that a person can qualify 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 focus on Class A and Class 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 brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 CDL 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. A few 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Beverly Hills CA trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can't be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Beverly Hills CA area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of 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 calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school's course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly 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 top Beverly Hills CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school's history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won't provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn't hurt to get in touch with the California licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in California and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, 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 be critical of any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Beverly Hills CA schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it's imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good standard 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 Beverly Hills CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Beverly Hills CA schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it's essential that the Beverly Hills 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 particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver's license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Beverly Hills CA employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Beverly Hills CA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. 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 Beverly Hills CA Truck Driver Training
Choosing the right truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver's success. However, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to consider 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 choose an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It's your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Beverly Hills CA.