How to Choose the Right CDL Training Classes near Chino Valley Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Chino Valley AZ. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. 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 various variables that you'll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Chino Valley residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to ensure you'll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within Chino Valley AZ and throughout the USA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 license classes that one can apply 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 address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind 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 explanations of 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 CDL 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. Several of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive 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 require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Chino Valley AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. 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 factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are several more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Chino Valley AZ area are accredited due to the stringent 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 certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Chino Valley AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school's history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won't provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, 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 personalized instruction 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 insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Chino Valley AZ schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it's essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might 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 face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish plenty 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Chino Valley AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It's possible to get free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Chino Valley AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it's essential that the Chino Valley AZ school you enroll in provides 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 willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Chino Valley AZ employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Chino Valley 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 reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enroll in the Right Chino Valley Truck Driver Training
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession 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 several options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It's your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Chino Valley Arizona.