How to Pick the Best Truck Driver Classes near Kingman Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Kingman AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it's essential to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you'll need to think about before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Kingman residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to make certain you'll get the appropriate education. Don't forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Kingman AZ, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 CDL is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Kingman AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can't be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Kingman AZ area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator 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 usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Kingman AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school's track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won't provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to get in touch with 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 hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Kingman AZ schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it's important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide sufficient 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 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 ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Kingman AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive 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 driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it's important that the Kingman AZ school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you're having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Kingman AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? 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 assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Select the Best Kingman AZ CDL Driver Training
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver's success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to look into 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 select an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It's your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Kingman AZ.