How to Choose a CDL Driving School Tempe Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Tempe AZ. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Tempe home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Tempe AZ, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes 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 driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 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 CDL is needed 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 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 might also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Tempe AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Tempe AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively 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 top Tempe AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Tempe AZ schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Tempe AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer 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 refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Tempe AZ schools you are considering 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 third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Tempe AZ school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Tempe AZ employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Tempe 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 assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Tempe AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Tempe Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Tempe (/ˈtɛmpiː/ TEM'-pee;Oidbaḍ in O'odham), also known as Hayden's Ferry during the territorial times of Arizona, is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, with the Census Bureau reporting a 2017 population of 185,038. The city is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece. Tempe is located in the East Valley section of metropolitan Phoenix; it is bordered by Phoenix and Guadalupe on the west, Scottsdale on the north, Chandler on the south, and Mesa on the east. Tempe is also the location of the main campus of Arizona State University.
Fort McDowell was established approximately 25 mi (40 km) northeast of present downtown Tempe on the upper Salt River in 1865 allowing for new towns to be built farther down the Salt River. US military service members and Hispanic workers were hired to grow food and animal feed to supply the fort, and less than a year later, had set up small camps near the river that were the first permanent communities in the Valley after the fall of the Hohokam. (Phoenix was settled shortly afterward, by 1867–68.) The two settlements were 'Hayden's Ferry', named after a ferry service operated by Charles T. Hayden, and 'San Pablo', and were located west and east of Hayden Butte respectively. The ferry became the key river crossing in the area. The Tempe Irrigating Canal Company was soon established by William Kirkland and James McKinney to provide water for alfalfa, wheat, barley, oats, and cotton.
Pioneer Darrell Duppa is credited with suggesting Tempe's name, adopted in 1879, after comparing the Salt River valley near a 300-foot (91 m)-tall butte, to the Vale of Tempe near Mount Olympus in Greece.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driver School Tempe AZ
Picking the right trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select 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 choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Tempe AZ.
Other Awesome Locations in Arizona
Business Results 1 - 10 of 134