How to Decide on the Right Trucking School near Canoga Park California
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Canoga Park CA. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Canoga Park home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select 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 CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Canoga Park CA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Canoga Park CA trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed 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 similarly or even more important. So below are a few more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Canoga Park CA area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, 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 several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Canoga Park CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the California licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, 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 getting the personal attention 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 professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Canoga Park CA schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified 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 regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide ample 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Canoga Park CA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific 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 numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with 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 prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Canoga Park CA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in California, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Canoga Park CA school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio 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 few Canoga Park CA employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Canoga Park CA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Canoga Park CA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Canoga Park California area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Canoga Park, Los Angeles
Canoga Park is a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California, United States. Its 60,000+ residents are considered to be "highly diverse" ethnically. Before the Mexican–American War, the district was part of a rancho, and after the American victory it was converted into wheat farms and then subdivided, with part of it named Owensmouth as a town founded in 1912. It joined Los Angeles in 1917 and was renamed Canoga Park on March 1, 1931, thanks to the efforts of local civic leader Mary Logan Orcutt.
The area of present-day Canoga Park was the homeland of Native Americans in the Tongva-Fernandeño and Chumash-Venturaño tribes, that lived in the Simi Hills and along to the tributaries of the Los Angeles River. They traded with the north Valley Tataviam-Fernandeño people. Native American civilizations inhabited the Valley for an estimated 8,000 years. Their culture left the Burro Flats Painted Cave nearby.
From 1797 to 1846 the area was part of Mission San Fernando Rey de España (Mission San Fernando). After the Mexican War of Independence from Spain the 'future Canoga Park' land became part of Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. In 1845, a land grant for the separate and historically rich Rancho El Escorpión was issued by Governor Pío Pico to three Chumash people, Odón Eusebia, his brother-in-law Urbano, and Urbano's son Mañuel. It was located in the area west of Fallbrook Avenue and later called Platt Ranch.
Semi Driving School Canoga Park CA
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered 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 Semi Driving School. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Canoga Park CA.
Keep On Trucking in These Other California Locations