How to Choose a Truck Driving School Laveen Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Laveen AZ. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Laveen residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Laveen AZ, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries of the 2 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. Some of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 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 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 kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Laveen AZ truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Laveen AZ area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. 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 Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Laveen AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching 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 talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Laveen AZ schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential 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 become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Laveen AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Laveen AZ schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Laveen AZ school you enroll in offers 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 holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Laveen AZ employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Laveen AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Laveen AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Laveen Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Laveen /ləˈviːn/ is an "urban village" within the city of Phoenix in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, situated eight miles (13 km) southwest of Downtown Phoenix between South Mountain and the confluence of the Gila and Salt rivers. Parts of Laveen constitute an unincorporated community in Maricopa County, while the remainder falls within the city limits of Phoenix, constituting the city's "Laveen Village". Laveen Village is split between District 7 and District 8, both notable as minority-majority districts for the city. Although Laveen has been home to "pastoral alfalfa, cotton, and dairy farms" since the 1880s, housing and commercial developments have been increasingly urbanizing the area.
The Laveen area was first settled by farmers and dairymen in 1884. Despite its proximity to Phoenix, the community was isolated from its larger neighbor by the Salt River, which until the Roosevelt Dam was completed in 1911 carried water year-round. The only bridged crossing was at Central Avenue, more than six miles (10 km) away. Because of its isolation, like the rest of south Phoenix early Laveen was autonomous of Phoenix and became relatively self-sufficient, supporting two general stores, a barbershop, repair garage, two pool halls, and a building for the Laveen Women's Club. These businesses served as important gathering places for the greater Laveen community, which includes modern south Phoenix and the neighboring Gila River Indian Community (GRIC)
In the early 1900s, Walter E. Laveen and his family homesteaded an area encompassing all four corners of present-day 51st Avenue and Dobbins Road, where they also built the area's first general store—the Laveen Store—on the southeast corner. Members of the Laveen family donated land adjacent to their store for a school, which was built in 1913 and named Laveen School. A second general store, the Del Monte Market, was built in 1908 at 27th Avenue and Dobbins Road and is considered the oldest still standing building in Laveen.
Choose the Best Trucking School Laveen AZ
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to look into 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 choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Laveen AZ.
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