How to Choose a Truck Driver School Waddell Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Waddell AZ. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Waddell residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Waddell AZ, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief descriptions of the 2 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 may also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Waddell AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some additional points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Waddell AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous 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 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 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Waddell AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Waddell AZ schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she 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 furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Waddell AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Waddell AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Waddell 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 particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Waddell AZ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Waddell AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Waddell AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Waddell Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Waddell is an unincorporated community in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, northwest of the city of Phoenix. Waddell is named after Donald Ware Waddell, native of Ohio, who was a partner in the New York City investment firm of Brandon, Gordon and Waddell. It was this firm that organized the private financing for construction of the dam for the water reclamation project that creates Lake Pleasant. The intended Waddell town site was laid out by Donald W. Waddell in 1935, on property he owned on the northeast corner of Waddell Road and Cotton Lane (Section 12, T3N, R2W, G&SRB&M). Waddell moved to the area to oversee the firm’s interests in the project. He served on the board of the Maricopa Water District and invested in land through his interests in the Arizona Citrus Land Company and the Waddell Ranch Company.
In 1937 the Waddell Post Office was established inside the store on the original town site. Later the post office moved across the street and shared space with the cotton gin office. The current Waddell Post Office was built in 1992 and is located on Glendale Avenue and Cotton Lane, four miles south of the original site. The town never did develop, but remained a post office and place name for the area.
The dam on the Agua Fria River that creates Lake Pleasant (once called Frog Tanks Dam then, Pleasant Dam) was renamed for Donald W. Waddell in 1963, shortly after his death, in recognition of his contributions to the Maricopa Water District. Barry M. Goldwater spoke at the dedication ceremony.
Choose the Right Trucking School Waddell AZ
Picking the right truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation 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 critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Waddell AZ.
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