How to Find the Best CDL Driving School near Big Park Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Big Park AZ. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it's important to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you'll need to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Big Park home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best means to guarantee you'll receive the right training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within Big Park AZ and throughout the United States, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 Commercial Drivers License is required 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. A few 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Big Park AZ truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few additional 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 ? Not many trucking schools in the Big Park AZ area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Big Park AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school's track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Big Park AZ schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it's essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will furnish plenty of 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Big Park AZ schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It's possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver 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 receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Big Park 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 students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it's important that the Big Park AZ school you choose offers 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 have it mastered. And if you're still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Big Park AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Big Park AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Enroll in the Best Big Park Truck Driver Training
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver's success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It's your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Big Park Arizona.