How to Pick a Truck Driver School Queen Creek Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Queen Creek AZ. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Queen Creek home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master 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 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Queen Creek AZ, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person 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 B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Queen Creek AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are several additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Queen Creek AZ area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Queen Creek AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Queen Creek AZ schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of 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 important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide lots of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Queen Creek AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Queen Creek AZ schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Queen Creek AZ school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Queen Creek AZ employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Queen Creek AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Queen Creek AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Queen Creek Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Queen Creek, Arizona
Queen Creek is located at 33°15′47″N 111°38′05″W / 33.26306°N 111.63472°W / 33.26306; -111.63472 (33.263101, −111.634685). The Town of Queen Creek is primarily within Maricopa County, but the Town Limits also extend into Pinal County on the eastern and southern borders. Even further to the east and south of QC Town Limits in Pinal County is the large (est. 87,000 population in 2015) unincorporated community of San Tan Valley.
As of the census of 2010, there were 26,361 people, 8,557 households, residing in the town. The population density was 167.3 people per square mile (64.6/km²). There were 8,557 housing units at an average density of 49.6 per square mile (19.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 82.14% White, 0.35% Black or African American, 6.53% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 14.30% from other races, and 2.29% from two or more races. 17.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,218 households out of which 50.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 75.9% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 11.8% were non-families. 8.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.54 and the average family size was 3.77.
Pick the Ideal Trucking School Queen Creek AZ
Picking the right truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need 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 select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Queen Creek AZ.
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