How to Enroll in the Best Trucker Classes near Bisbee Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Bisbee AZ. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it's imperative to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you'll want to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Bisbee residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal means to make sure you'll obtain the appropriate training. Don't forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within Bisbee AZ and throughout the United States, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on 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 descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate 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 CDL 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. Several 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 may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Bisbee AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Bisbee AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense 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. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Bisbee 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 history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won't provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn't be a bad idea 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 must be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors 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 receiving the individual attention they will need. This is particularly 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 frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Bisbee AZ schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it's essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish sufficient 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 operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Bisbee AZ schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It's possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Bisbee AZ schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 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 provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it's imperative that the Bisbee AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you're having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Bisbee AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Bisbee AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Enroll in the Right Bisbee Truck Driver Training
Selecting the right truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new profession 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 several options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It's your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Bisbee Arizona.