Top 10 California Truck Driving Schools and CDL Training
A survey conducted in the year 2008 revealed that trucking companies in the United States have more than 3.2 million vacancies. It was also estimated that by the year 2018, the number of vacancies in the US truck driving industry will increase by as much as 9%. These inspiring numbers motivated many people to join the country’s trucking industry. The scenario is the same in every state across the nation. People of the most populous state of the country, California, have also jumped on the bandwagon. The basic requirement for becoming a professional trucker in California is a commercial driver’s license. The process of becoming a professional truck driver in California goes like this: you will have to attend truck driver training in California, pass the CDL skills test to obtain your commercial driver’s license and start working as a professional trucker.
When Will You Need a California CDL?
Will you need commercial driver’s license for driving all kinds of commercial vehicles? According to federal laws, a person needs to have a CDL in any of the situations described below:
1. If the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the commercial vehicle is more than 26,000 lbs
2. For driving commercial vehicles that are towing units with GVWR more than 10,000 lbs
3. If the commercial vehicles’ Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) is above 26,000 lbs.
4. If the commercial vehicle has over 15 passengers
5. To be allowed to drive school buses that have a maximum of 15 passengers
Age Requirements for a CDL in California
If you are an 18 year old, you can apply for a CDL in California. However, for getting a commercial driver’s license that will allow you to drive commercial vehicles outside California state lines, you must be at least 21 years old. CDLs required for hauling hazardous substances or for driving tractor-trailers are also issued only if the applicants are over 21 years of age.
The CDL Application Procedure in California
The CDL rules vary from one US state to the other. In the state of California, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the agency responsible for regulating and issuing CDLs. The DMV follows the regulations set by the US DOT (Department of Transportation) and issues three types of CDLs.
If you are applying for a CDL for the first time, the DMV will ask for certain documents when you submit a completed application. The documents that a first-time CDL applicant needs to submit are as follows:
· Social Security or Medicare card to prove that you are a resident of California
· A completed medical form to establish that you are physically fit to work as a professional truck driver
· Vision and drug test reports that show that you have passed the tests successfully
After you submit the above mentioned documents along with the application, you will be fingerprinted and photographed. Finally, you will need to pay the application fee. The application fee varies based on the CDL type you are applying for. Once the application procedure is complete, you will have to sit for the CDL test. To ensure that you do not have any difficulty to pass the test, you should undergo truck driver training in California at a truck driving school of the state.
What Are the CDL Classifications?
Aspirant truckers can apply for three types of commercial driver’s licenses, Class A, Class B and Class C. A ‘Class A’ CDL is a prerequisite for driving all combination of commercial vehicles that weigh 26,000 lbs or more and are hauling units that weigh 10,000 lbs or more. A ‘Class B’ CDL is essential for driving single commercial vehicles that weigh 26,000 lbs or more but are carrying units that weigh 10,000 lbs or less. On the other hand, individuals with ‘Class C’ CDL are allowed to drive commercial vehicles that weigh 26,000 lbs or less and are carrying 15+ passengers. If you acquire a ‘Class A’ commercial driver’s license, you will be allowed to drive both ‘Class B’ and ‘Class C’ commercial vehicles.
How to Prepare Yourself for the CDL Test?
California is home to numerous trucking schools that provide CDL training. These CDL schools are primarily categorized into three types, public, private and company sponsored CDL schools.
Public schools that provide truck driver training in California usually do not ask for high fees. The training programs organized by these schools are sponsored by the government, which makes the process of getting financial aid easier for the financially needy students. Most public CDL training schools in California are parts of the state’s community colleges. The instructors of these public schools are all veterans of the country’s trucking industry, so they have detailed knowledge about what the students need to learn for passing CDL skills tests.
What are the differences between a public and a private CDL school? The only major difference between truck driver training provided by a public school and a private school lies in their fees. To get trained at a private school, you should be ready to spend at least $5,000. You will definitely have the option of applying for financial aids. However, the process of obtaining finances for covering truck driver training fees of a private school is often not as smooth as the process of getting financial aids while studying at a public trucking school.
When should you opt for a company a company sponsored CDL school? This is the best option for you if a trucking company you will love to have as your future employer is running a CDL school of its own. These in-house training schools often provide training without charging anything. Individuals who study at these institutes get hired by their mother trucking company immediately after getting their CDLs.
The next step of attending and completing truck driver training in California is passing the CDL test. A candidate who passes this test successfully receives a commercial driver’s license. A CDL will make you an authorized commercial driver and allow you to apply for truck driver jobs.