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How to Assess a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Anthem AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Anthem AZ area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess 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 stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Anthem AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school's history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. 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 getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Anthem AZ schools provide training courses 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 mentioned, it's imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified 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 regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking 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 operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Anthem AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It's possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Anthem AZ schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it's imperative that the Anthem AZ school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you're having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Anthem AZ employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Anthem AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.