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How to Decide on the Right Trucking School near Big Park Arizona

Big Park Arizona truck carrying cargoCongrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Big Park AZ. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it's imperative to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you'll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Big Park residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best way to guarantee you'll receive the proper education. Don't forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will eventually need.

Which CDL Should You Get?

Big Park Arizona tractor trailer driving down expressway

In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within Big Park AZ and throughout the USA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply 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 highlight 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 brief descriptions for the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 required to drive 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 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 certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.

How to Research a Trucking School

Big Park Arizona concrete mixer truck with flag paint job

As soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Big Park AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can't be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Big Park AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous 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 required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Big Park AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school's track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won't provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Big Park AZ schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.

How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it's imperative that the teachers 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 qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also vital that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.

Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish lots of 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Big Park AZ schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? It's possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Big Park AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it's essential that the Big Park AZ school you select 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 instructor 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 must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement 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 placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Big Park AZ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Big Park AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.

Learn More About Big Park Trucking Schools

Enroll in the Best Big Park CDL Training

Selecting the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. However, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It's your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Big Park Arizona.

 

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