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How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Casas Adobes AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are some more things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Casas Adobes AZ area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Casas Adobes AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school's history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention 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 professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Casas Adobes AZ schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it's important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish plenty of 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Casas Adobes AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Casas Adobes AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. 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 battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it's imperative that the Casas Adobes AZ school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you're having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Casas Adobes AZ employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Casas Adobes AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.