How to Decide on the Right Truck Driving Classes near Queen Creek Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Queen Creek AZ. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it's essential to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you'll need to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Queen Creek residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal means to make sure you'll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Queen Creek AZ, a driver must 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 topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Queen Creek AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Queen Creek AZ area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. 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 top Queen Creek AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school's history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won't supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Queen Creek AZ schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it's imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the actual 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 substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark 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 Queen Creek AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It's possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Queen Creek AZ schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed 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 contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it's important that the Queen Creek AZ school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you're having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Queen Creek AZ employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Queen Creek 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 aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Select the Right Queen Creek AZ Truck Driving Training
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an essential 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 forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver's success. However, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need 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 select an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It's your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Queen Creek AZ.