How to Find the Best Truck Driver Classes near Beverly Hills California
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Beverly Hills CA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it's important to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you'll need to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Beverly Hills residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best means to guarantee you'll get the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow 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 address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Beverly Hills CA, a driver needs to attain 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 topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight 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 short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 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. 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 need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Beverly Hills CA truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Beverly Hills CA area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine 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 be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Beverly Hills CA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school's history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to check with 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 cover more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater 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 concerning 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 professionally requires time. The majority of Beverly Hills CA schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it's imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Beverly Hills CA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Beverly Hills CA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in California, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it's imperative that the Beverly Hills CA school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you're having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. 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 obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates 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 recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to 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 examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Select the Best Beverly Hills CA Truck Driver Training
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver's success. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big 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 reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It's your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Beverly Hills CA.