How to Select the Right Truck Driving Classes near Casas Adobes Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Casas Adobes AZ. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it's important to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you'll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Casas Adobes residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to guarantee you'll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That 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 commercial driver's license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within Casas Adobes AZ and throughout the United States, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 license classes that a driver 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 Class 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). 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 drive specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Casas Adobes AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can't be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Casas Adobes AZ area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed 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 start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school's track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won't supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be obtaining 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 professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Casas Adobes AZ schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it's important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish lots 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Casas Adobes AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous 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 surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Casas Adobes AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the schools you are considering 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 deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it's imperative that the Casas Adobes AZ school you select 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 commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Casas Adobes AZ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Casas Adobes AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enroll in the Best Casas Adobes CDL Training
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning 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 many options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. However, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It's your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Casas Adobes Arizona.