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How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Boyle Heights CA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Boyle Heights CA area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense 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 required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Boyle Heights CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school's track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won't provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to get in touch with the California licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in California and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding 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 time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Boyle Heights CA schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it's imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach 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 completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, 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. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Boyle Heights CA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Boyle Heights CA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the schools you are considering 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 locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it's essential that the Boyle Heights CA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you're having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Boyle Heights CA employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Boyle Heights CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.