How to Choose the Best Trucker School near Camp Verde Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Camp Verde AZ. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work 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 various variables that you'll need to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Camp Verde residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to make certain you'll receive the right education. Just remember, 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 goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within Camp Verde AZ and throughout the United States, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries of the two 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Camp Verde AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Camp Verde 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 obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Camp Verde AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school's track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won't provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, 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 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 getting the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Camp Verde AZ schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it's important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Camp Verde AZ schools you are considering 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 some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations 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 have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Camp Verde AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, ask 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 moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it's imperative that the Camp Verde AZ school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you're having difficulty 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 holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver's license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at 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 referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Camp Verde AZ employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Camp Verde 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 evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Choose the Best Camp Verde CDL Training
Choosing the right truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver's success. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need 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 select an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It's your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Camp Verde Arizona.