United Truck Driving School
If you live in the Golden State or you’re looking to make your truck driving training an adventure, you may be looking into truck driving schools in Southern California. The allure of sandy beaches, sunny days and exciting nightlife might even be enough to convince you to pack your bags and embark upon a fun journey during which you will learn some important skills you need to start your new career.
One of the most popular truck driving schools in Southern California is the United Truck Driving School. With facilities in San Diego and Riverside, United looks like an exciting opportunity for a new adventure. More than that, this school offers some great programs, veterans’ opportunities, and employment options.
If you’re considering enrolling in this school for your truck driving training, let’s go over United’s facilities and programs to give you a better overview of what they can offer.
History and Accreditations
Founded in 1978, United has since gone through some changes in ownership and location. It was acquired by the Hanley family in 1997, and the San Diego location was relocated later that same year. One year later, the Riverside facility was also relocated to its current location. In 2003, the school was officially accredited by the ACCSC – the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.
United is also accredited by the COE – Council on Occupational Education, and a member of CVTA – Council of Vehicle Training Association. All of these accreditations make the school a well-known, respected institution in the truck driving industry.
Every program starts with classroom education, where you learn federal and state laws, rules of the road, basics of the equipment, and vehicle inspection. After that, you get to apply this knowledge to the vehicle, learning the necessary maneuvers you will need in real life situations.
There are three programs to choose from:
Class A CDL Training
A four-week, 160-hour program. This program prepares you to land entry-level commercial truck driver jobs. You will learn how to operate a Freightliner conventional tractor with manual transmission and a full-sized trailer. Upon completion, you will be equipped with skills to earn a California CDL with the following endorsements: doubles and triples, tanker, hazmat, and airbrakes.
Class B CDL Training (with a passenger endorsement)
A three-week, 120-hour program. A class B CDL with enables you to drive a single vehicle with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight) of more than 26,000 lbs., while a passenger endorsement allows you to transport passengers in vehicles like tour or school buses. Upon completion, you will have the skills to obtain a California Class B CDL with the following endorsements: passenger, hazmat, and tanker.
Class A + Passenger Training
A 4.5-week, 186-hour program. This program prepares you for entry-level jobs as both a bus driver and a truck driver. Class A CDL + passenger means you can drive any legal combination of buses or large vehicles, including full-sized buses and trailers. This training enables you to get the following endorsements: passenger, doubles, triples, airbrakes, hazmat, and tanker.
A problem with many truck driving schools is their distance from major cities; in order to find enough space for their vast facilities, many schools tend to relocate to smaller towns far away from city centers. That seems to be a problem United successfully avoided, as both of their locations are rather close to city downtowns.
San Diego location
Due to the landscape of the local area San Diego area, this location is perfect for practicing both urban and rural driving. The facility is less than 7 miles away from downtown San Diego, so you can enjoy the beautiful beaches, SeaWorld, or the San Diego Zoo. The San Diego facility is a great place to learn the basics of driving and have a lot of fun in the second largest city in California.
There are many opportunities that come with training in Riverside. The most important is that this city is close to the West Coast terminal locations of many major trucking companies. LA is around 60 miles to the west, so you can easily take a bus and see some of the Hollywood’s allure, check out the Walk of Fame, and glorious beaches. You can perfect your backing maneuvers and low-speed turns on the driving range before moving on to street driving.
United Truck Driving School works with several government programs to provide its students with financial aid packages that can help them pay for their training. One of those programs is the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) which can cover parts or all of your tuition. Additionally, the school offers credit with a down payment. The payments don’t begin until a month or two after graduation, so you’ll have plenty of time to find a job before that.
If you have an injury that causes a permanent partial disability, you may qualify for Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits (SJDB) – a voucher you can use to pay tuition, books, and other expenses that the school requires.
Another popular way to finance your training is through tuition reimbursements – it’s not unusual for big national carriers to pay a student’s tuition in order to recruit capable prospective employees.
Opportunities for Veterans
Due to the specific nature of the job (increased responsibility, discipline, and work ethic) many veterans find truck driving a great career option upon returning from their service. United Truck Driving School takes great pride in helping veterans and even their spouses and dependents in getting their California CDL. More than that, trucking companies are often on the lookout for veterans because of their proven skills and dedication.
To help veterans kick start their truck driving careers, United participates in several VA Educational programs:
- Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) – financial assistance up to 4,000 dollars to military spouses;
- VA Vocational Rehabilitation (Chapter 31);
- Post-9/11 GI Bill;
- Transferred post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits – you can transfer your educational benefits to your spouse and dependents. You can only transfer these benefits while you are an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Job Placement Opportunities
Many truck driving schools try their best to give their students employment opportunities while they are still in training. United is no different, as they bring in many carriers and recruiters to their classrooms, giving their students the opportunity to talk directly to company representatives. However, if you’re more interested in working locally, the school also provides a list of local businesses that are open to employing new drivers fresh out of driving school.
In addition to bringing in potential employers, United staff helps you plan your career path and make the right decisions. They also support their students by contacting, faxing, and emailing recruiters, as well as filling out and submitting your resumes and applications.
If you want to get a taste of the San Diego or LA beaches, sites, and nightlife, United Truck Driving School may be the right for you. But, make no mistake – there is much more to this school than the attractiveness of its surroundings. It also offers great programs (especially the Class A + passenger training that allows you to drive a wide range of vehicles), good financing packages, and solid employment opportunities with some big companies like Pepsi and Metropolitan Transit System.