How to Choose the Best Trucking Classes near Casas Adobes Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Casas Adobes AZ. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it's essential to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you'll want to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Casas Adobes home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you'll receive the right training. Don't forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Casas Adobes AZ, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B CDLs may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucker School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Casas Adobes AZ truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Casas Adobes AZ area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school's course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Casas Adobes AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school's history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won't supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't hurt to check with the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Casas Adobes AZ schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it's important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark 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 Casas Adobes AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It's possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Casas Adobes AZ schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it's imperative that the Casas Adobes AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you're having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Casas Adobes AZ employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Casas Adobes AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Choose the Right Casas Adobes AZ Truck Driver Training
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver's success. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It's your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Casas Adobes AZ.