How to Select the Best Trucker School near Beverly Hills California
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Beverly Hills CA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it's important to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you'll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Beverly Hills home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to make sure you'll obtain the appropriate training. Don't forget, your objective 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 goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Is Required?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Beverly Hills CA, an operator must get 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 subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on 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 brief summaries 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 more 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 Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 may also require endorsements to drive certain types 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 license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Beverly Hills CA trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Beverly Hills CA area are accredited because of the rigorous 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 certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school's program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Beverly Hills CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school's track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to get in touch with the California licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be receiving 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 train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Beverly Hills CA schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it's important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements 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 pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish lots 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish 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 provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember 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 several states that will allow 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 looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing 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 earlier mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it's imperative that the Beverly Hills CA school you choose offers 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 dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement 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 placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Beverly Hills CA employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? 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 assistance being offered. Ask 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 must be submitted.
Select the Right Beverly Hills CA Truck Driving Training
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation 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 many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. 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 funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive 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 joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Beverly Hills CA.