How to Select a CDL Training School Safford Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Safford AZ. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Safford residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll get the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Safford AZ, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief descriptions for the 2 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Safford AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed 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 similarly or even more important. So below are some additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Safford AZ area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, 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 several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, 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 program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Safford AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts 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 trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, 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 be critical of any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Safford AZ schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute 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 between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Safford AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Safford AZ schools you are contemplating are captive or independent 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 trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Safford AZ school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular 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 must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Safford AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Safford AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Safford AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Safford Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Safford (Western Apache: Ichʼįʼ Nahiłtį́į́) is a city in Graham County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 9,566. The city is the county seat of Graham County.
Safford is located at 32°49′24″N 109°42′53″W / 32.82333°N 109.71472°W / 32.82333; -109.71472 (32.823266, -109.714613). The Pinaleno Mountains sit prominently to the southwest of town. The Pinalenos have the greatest vertical relief of any mountain range in Arizona.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22 km2), of which, 8.6 square miles (22 km2) of it is land and 0.03 square miles (0.078 km2) of it (0.18%) is water.
Choose the Ideal Truck Driving School Safford AZ
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. 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 short on funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Safford AZ.
Other Awesome Locations in Arizona