How to Choose the Right Truck Driver School near Bonita California
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Bonita CA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Bonita home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your objective 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 decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Bonita CA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight 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 summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Bonita CA trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are a few more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Bonita 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 obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed 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 Bonita CA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the California licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in California and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Bonita CA schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to 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.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs among 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 Bonita CA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with a wide range of 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 be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Bonita CA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted 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 centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Bonita CA school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Bonita CA employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Bonita CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Bonita CA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Bonita California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Bonita is a census-designated place (CDP) in southern San Diego County, California, nestled between the cities of Chula Vista, National City, and San Diego. The population was 12,538 at the 2010 census.
While Bonita is politically designated as an unincorporated community, bounded by the incorporated cities of Chula Vista, San Diego and National City, it is closely associated with the geography of the Lower Sweetwater Valley. Thus considered, Bonita occupies about a five-mile (8 km) stretch of the Sweetwater River, its valley, and surrounding hills on either side, bounded upstream (east) by the Sweetwater Reservoir, and downstream (west) effectively by Interstate 805. The community crosses west of I-805—an area less than 160 acres (0.65 km2)—reaching as far south and west as East H Street and Hilltop Drive. Its northern boundary is State Route 54 and its southern extent reaches approximately one mile (2 km) south of the river.
The word Bonita is a feminine word for "beautiful" in the Spanish language. It was the name of a ranch owned by Henry Ernest Cooper, Sr. in 1884, and was used by the nearby post office. The ranch itself was used to cultivate lemons, which were first grown in the area beginning in 1871. During the early years lemon industry was thriving, where it became the originator of the Bonnie Brae Lemon variety, named after the first lemon ranch in the community.
Class A Truck Driving School Bonita CA
Choosing the right trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class A Truck Driving School. However, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Bonita CA.
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