How to Pick the Right Truck Driving School near Buckeye Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Buckeye AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it's essential to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you'll need to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Buckeye residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make certain you'll receive the right education. Don't forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills 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 decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within Buckeye AZ and throughout the USA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 needed to operate 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. 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 require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Buckeye AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are several more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Buckeye AZ area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school's course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Buckeye 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 job placement of its graduating students. If a school won't share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, 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 considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, 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 look out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Buckeye AZ schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it's essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Buckeye AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It's possible to get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Buckeye AZ schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it's important that the Buckeye AZ school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you're having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend 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 accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Buckeye AZ employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Buckeye AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enroll in the Best Buckeye Truck Driver Training
Choosing the right truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver's success. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking 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 soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Buckeye Arizona.