Truck Driving Schools in California
As one of the largest states in the country, it's not a big surprise that California has tons of opportunities for you if you want to become a truck driver. There are 144 truck driving programs in California, many of which are specialized truck driving schools. They are evenly dispersed throughout the state, so wherever you live in California, you are probably close to a truck driving school. The average cost of tuition in the state is $1,122, which is remarkably low. The average scholarship award is $748, making a truck driving program affordable for almost every student.
Earning Your California Commercial Drivers License
Many truck driving schools in California, including Dootson School of Trucking, have flexible scheduling for students. You may be able to take classes during daytime hours, take evening classes, or get your truck driving education on the weekends. Some truck driving schools in the state are associated with employers, like C.R. England Truck Driving School. Most courses run between four and eight weeks. If you choose a program that's four weeks long, you can typically expect to spend several hours per day in the classroom and on the road. Programs in California prepare you for your commercial driving test, and they save you time by completing your drug screen, physical, and other required parts of your commercial driving test application.
Be sure to look for available truck driving scholarships. The Truckers United Fraternity Super Offspring of the Boss scholarship awards scholarships to eligible students every year.
Before you can get a job working as a truck driver, you have to earn your commercial driver's license (CDL) from the DMV of California. Prior to earning your license, you have to pass a written test. This will get you a practice permit. The application fee for this is $68 for Class A and Class B or $39 for Class C. Once you earn your practice permit, you can go through your truck driving course and gain the needed experience. This will prepare you for the CDL test in California.
Life After Truck Driving School in California
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for truck drivers is growing faster than average across the entire country. They predict a 21% increase in job openings between 2010 and 2020 (BLS, 2010).
In California, the demand for truck drivers is growing quickly. O*Net reports an expected 20% increase in job openings between 2010 and 2020, resulting in 5,110 predicted new jobs over the decade (O*Net, 2010).
Even as a beginning commercial truck driver, you may be able to earn a competitive salary in California. According to O*Net, the median salary for a truck driver in California is $40,700 per year. The salary range goes from $27,000 per year to $60,200 per year (O*Net, 2012). Truckers with lots of experience or who drive difficult routes may be able to earn at the higher end of the salary range.
Start Your Career as a California Trucker
You have many employers to choose from as a truck driver in California. You may choose to work with a company that only drives within the state if you want to return home nightly or multiple times per week. However, you are more likely to find a job with a company that does interstate transport. This may require you to be away from home most of the week. You might return home weekly or bi-weekly, depending on the company.
There are lots of companies you can apply at as a truck driver. Some of the largest employers include C.R. England, Schneider National, and Saia LTL Freight.
California is one of the country's most important states in terms of production and transport, which means that it always has a need for good truck drivers. There are many large trucking companies in California's many large cities. Large truck driving cities in California include Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose.
While the cost of living in California is fairly high—about 35% higher than the national average, according to Sperling's Best Places—many people say that the quality of life is so good that it doesn't matter. If you're willing to drive across California or even across the country, you may be able to find a great truck driving career in California.