How to Decide on a Truck Driving School Payson Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Payson AZ. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Payson residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to guarantee 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 examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That 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 CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Payson AZ, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 short summaries for 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 drive 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. Several 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Payson AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Payson AZ area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated 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 an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Payson AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Payson 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 Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained 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 a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide ample 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Payson AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified 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 affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Payson AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Payson AZ school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Payson AZ employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Payson AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Payson AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Payson Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Payson is a town in northern Gila County, Arizona, United States. Its location puts it very near to the geographic center of Arizona. Payson has been called "The Heart of Arizona". The town is surrounded by the Tonto National Forest and has many outdoor activities year round. As of the 2010 census, the population of Payson was 15,301.
Payson considers its founding year as 1882, at which time it was known as "Green Valley". On March 3, 1884, a post office was established with the help of Illinois Representative Levi Joseph Payson. The first postmaster was Frank C. Hise. In honor of Representative Payson's help, the town's name was changed to "Payson".
In 1918 author Zane Grey made his first trip to the area surrounding Payson. He would come back with regularity through 1929, and would purchase two plots of land near Tonto Creek, including 120 acres (49 ha) from Sampson Elam Boles under Myrtle Point. Grey wrote numerous books about the area and also filmed some movies, such as To the Last Man, in the Payson area in the 1920s.
Choose the Right Truck Driver School Payson AZ
Picking the right truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation 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 several options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want 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 choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Payson AZ.
Other Awesome Locations in Arizona