Best CDL School In Los Angeles

Topic 3862 | Page 1

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John M.'s Comment
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I'm researching the best CDL school in the LA area. I read a lot about what to look for but seems like nobody wants to name names.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey John, welcome to the forum!

It's very hard to give out names for the "best school", or the "best trucking company" simply because what fits one person may not meet the needs of another person. Let me give you a real life experience of mine: I attended a small private CDL school in Texas that I thought did a really great job of preparing us for the real world of professional driving. There was one student in my class who threw a fit and quit on our seventh day of class and demanded his money back because, as he put it, "this is no way to teach someone to drive a truck."

I loved the approach they took - he despised it. I can guarantee you that he has had some very bad things to say about the truck driving school that I loved and excelled in. Do you see what I mean? I know if you've done much research on the internet about truck driving companies and schools your head is probably spinning by now. The reviews are all over the place, which should tell you that the reviews are worthless.

I'll give you what I consider to be some valuable advice when considering attending a school. Don't expect to come out of any CDL training school being able to handle a Big Rig like a professional. They will only get you far enough along so that you can get your license, that's their purpose. They are not there to make you into a truck driver, they are simply helping you get to the point where you can pass some skills and knowledge tests so that you can get the license which will allow you to begin learning to be a truck driver.

That's why all these large carriers who are willing to hire new drivers with no experience put you with a trainer for usually a minimum of four weeks. That is where you will learn the bare minimum basics of how to do the job before they take a huge chance by putting you in a rig all by yourself. Trust me, for the next entire year you will be learning and honing your skills as a truck driver, and even after that you will still be learning, but that first entire year is a huge learning curve. This is part of the reason why there is almost a 100% turn-over rate in this industry. I recently spoke with some management people at a large flat-bed carrier who told me their average rookie flat-bed driver lasts 90 days before calling it quits. There is not a school in the land that can prepare you for all the crazy stuff you're gonna run into when driving a truck all across this great country.

So, when you decide on a school, just plan on it being only the first steps of a lengthy process. Your first steps may not be as wonderful as you would like them to be - first steps are usually awkward, but the experiences we get from each step along the way all work together toward helping us become a professional driver. It's a process that you are just starting at the school.

It's really not that important if you attend the "best school" or the "worst school". I think my trainer may have qualified as the worst trainer, but I still managed to learn from him. Just jump in there and apply yourself and you will be fine at whatever school seems to fit your needs. Please don't think I'm brushing your question off by answering it in this way, because it really is true - there is no way for us to tell you that this school is so much better than that school. The most important thing about attending truck driving school is that you be willing to accept their methods of teaching you, whether you understand why they are doing something a certain way or not. They will each have their own way of doing things, and they will each have a specific reason and goal for why they do things the way they do. They are simply taking the shortest most efficient path to getting you licensed that they can. If they did it any other way the costs would be outrageous and no one would be attending their schools.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Old School had an awesome response and I agree 100%. It really comes down to figuring out which schools, and which type of school for that matter, suits you best.

We have an excellent series of articles on How To Choose A Truck Driving School and we also have an entire chapter of our Truck Driver's Career Guide dedicated to it - Chapter 4: Choosing A Truck Driving School. Read through those - they'll really help you understand the differences between Company-Sponsored Training and a Independent Truck Driving Schools. They'll also talk about how to sort through them and you'll read about the experiences of others in your shoes.

If you're going to attend an independent school, the most important thing you have to look into is which companies hire from that school. So ask the school for a list of major companies that hire their students and call some of those companies yourself from home to verify it. If major companies will hire students from a particular school then you know that school is at least a legitimate candidate.

The second big thing I always tell everyone to do is go for a visit to the school, go on a tour, and at some point speak privately with some of the current students. When someone forks out a few thousand bucks to attend a school you can be darn sure they're going to be willing to share their opinions. If the current students seem to be pretty happy with the school, you like what you saw on the tour, and some major companies hire their students then you know you have a school worthy of consideration.

As Old School said...the only thing they're trying to do is teach you enough to get that CDL and land your first truck driving job. If a school helps you accomplish those two things then they've done their job. 98% of everything you're going to know about trucking someday will come from your experience on the road. Only about 2% will actually come from your schooling.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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