How to Pick the Right Truck Driving Classes near Buckeye Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Buckeye AZ. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it's imperative to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you'll need to think about before making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Buckeye residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to make certain 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 exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Buckeye AZ, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate 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 drivers may be qualified to operate with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Buckeye AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can't be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Buckeye AZ area are accredited due to 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 required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Buckeye AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school's track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won't share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Buckeye AZ schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it's essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Buckeye AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It's possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Buckeye AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it's important that the Buckeye AZ school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you're having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Buckeye AZ employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Buckeye AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Select the Right Buckeye AZ Truck Driving Training
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It's your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Buckeye AZ.