Truck Training School Atherton CA

How to Select the Right Truck Driving School near Atherton California

long haul tractor trailer in Atherton CACongratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Atherton CA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Atherton residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 CDL Should You Get?

tanker truck in Atherton CAIn order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Atherton CA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions for the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 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. 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 require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.

How to Evaluate a CDL School

Questions to ask Atherton CA truck driving schoolsAs soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Atherton CA trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Atherton CA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense 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 a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Atherton CA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the California licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.

How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in California and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Atherton CA schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Good are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Atherton 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 a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Atherton CA schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at California testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Atherton CA school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Make sure 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, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Atherton CA employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Atherton CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.

Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Atherton CA?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Atherton California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Atherton, California

Atherton is an incorporated town in San Mateo County, California, United States. Its population was 7,159 as of 2013. In 1990, Atherton was ranked as having the highest per capita income among U.S. towns with a population between 2,500 and 9,999,[11] and it is regularly ranked among the most expensive ZIP Codes in the country.[12][13][14]

In 1866, Atherton was known as Fair Oaks, and was a flag stop on the California Coast Line of the Southern Pacific Railroad between San Francisco and San Jose for the convenience of the owners of the large estates who lived north of Menlo Park. The entire area was called Menlo Park. It had been part of the Rancho de las Pulgas that had covered most of the area, which is now southern San Mateo County. There were several attempts to incorporate Fair Oaks, one in 1874 and another in 1911.

In 1923, Menlo Park wished to incorporate its lands to include the Fair Oaks lands. During a meeting of the representatives of the two communities, it became clear to the Fair Oaks property owners that in order to maintain their community as a strictly residential area, they would have to incorporate separately. Both groups rushed to Sacramento but the Fair Oaks committee arrived first. It was at that time they realized that they could not keep the name Fair Oaks, as it was already the name of a town near Sacramento. It was decided to honor Faxon Dean Atherton who had been one of the first property owners in the south peninsula and name the town for him. Atherton was incorporated on September 12, 1923. That same year, in 1923, the Menlo Polo Club was founded in Atherton.[15][16]

Truck Training School Atherton CA

Atherton CA long haul truckChoosing the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Training School.  But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Atherton CA.

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