How to Find a CDL Driving School Willcox Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Willcox AZ. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Willcox home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Willcox AZ, an operator 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. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 short explanations 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
Once you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Willcox AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Willcox AZ area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Willcox AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating 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 regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, 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 trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. 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 individual attention they will need. This is especially 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 be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Willcox AZ schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary 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 fluctuates among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Willcox AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to 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 restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Willcox AZ schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Willcox AZ school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For 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 have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating 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 placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Willcox AZ employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Willcox AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Willcox AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Willcox Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Originally known as "Maley", the town was founded in 1880 as a whistlestop on the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was renamed in honor of a visit by General Orlando B. Willcox in 1889. In the early 20th century, Willcox had the distinction of being a national leader in cattle production. Agriculture remains important to the local economy, but Interstate 10 has replaced the railroad as the major transportation link, and much of the economy is now tied to the highway, which runs immediately north of the town.
Willcox is the birthplace of Rex Allen, known as "The Arizona Cowboy", who wrote and recorded many songs, starred in several Westerns during the early 1950s and in the syndicated television series Frontier Doctor (1958–1959). Willcox was among the locations of 26 Men (1957–1959), another syndicated series that depicted true stories of the Arizona Rangers starring Tristram Coffin and Kelo Henderson.
Willcox is located in northern Cochise County at 32°15′20″N 109°50′8″W / 32.25556°N 109.83556°W / 32.25556; -109.83556 (32.255622, -109.835520) in the Sulphur Springs Valley. Interstate 10 serves the city with three exits and leads 35 miles (56 km) southwest to Benson, Arizona, and 74 miles (119 km) east to Lordsburg, New Mexico.
Select the Right Truck Driving School Willcox AZ
Picking the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need 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 select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Willcox AZ.
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