How to Find a Truck Driving School Bullhead City Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Bullhead City AZ. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Bullhead City home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll obtain the proper 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 purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest 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?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Bullhead City AZ, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving 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 together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 required 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Bullhead City AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are some additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Bullhead City AZ area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated 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 Bullhead City AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arizona licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Bullhead City AZ schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Bullhead City AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive 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 instead of having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Bullhead City AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Bullhead City AZ school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. 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 have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Bullhead City AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Bullhead City AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Bullhead City AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Bullhead City Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Bullhead City, Arizona
Bullhead City is a city located on the Colorado River in Mohave County, Arizona, United States, roughly 90 mi (140 km) south of Las Vegas, Nevada, and directly across the Colorado River from Laughlin, Nevada, whose casinos and ancillary services supply much of the employment for Bullhead City. Bullhead City is located on the southern border of Lake Mohave. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 39,540. The nearby communities of Laughlin, Needles, California, Fort Mohave and Mohave Valley bring the Bullhead area's total population to about 100,000, making it the largest micropolitan area in Mohave County.
In 2011, the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport was named Airport of the Year by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The latest figures indicate that "...more than 115,000 people flew into Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport on casino-sponsored charters in 2010." In the 1980s the airport was home to the helicopters of the TV show Airwolf.
The earliest inhabitants of the Colorado River Valley were the Mojave people. The rich soil and plentiful water provided the valley's natives with the necessities to create a prosperous farming community. According to Mojave legend, life began on Spirit Mountain, the highest peak visible from the Bullhead City area.
Choose the Right Truck Driving School Bullhead City AZ
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Bullhead City AZ.
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