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How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Kingman AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Kingman AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. 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 truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Kingman AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school's track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won't share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, 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 look out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Kingman AZ schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it's important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide ample 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Kingman AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It's possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Kingman AZ schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it's essential that the Kingman AZ school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you're having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving 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 percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Kingman AZ employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Kingman AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.