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How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Camp Verde AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are some additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Camp Verde AZ area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, 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. As an example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Camp Verde AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school's history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won't supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to check with 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 hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Camp Verde AZ schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it's important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish ample driving time to its students. After all, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Camp Verde AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Camp Verde AZ schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it's essential that the Camp Verde AZ school you enroll in offers 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 willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage 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 Camp Verde 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 Camp Verde AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.