How to Select the Right Trucking Classes near Cave Creek Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Cave Creek AZ. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it's imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you'll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Cave Creek home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal way to make certain you'll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That 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 eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within Cave Creek AZ and throughout the United States, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class 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 explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate 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 need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Cave Creek AZ truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Cave Creek AZ area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, 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 a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Cave Creek AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school's track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won't provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Arizona licensing authority to confirm 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 employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Cave Creek AZ schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it's important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also vital that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few 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.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide lots of 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Cave Creek AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Cave Creek AZ schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver 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 convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it's imperative that the Cave Creek AZ school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you're having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend 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 commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Cave Creek AZ employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Cave Creek AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Choose the Best Cave Creek Truck Driver Training
Choosing the right truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need 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 select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It's your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Cave Creek Arizona.