How to Choose the Best Truck Driving Classes near Corona De Tucson Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Corona De Tucson AZ. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it's imperative to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you'll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Corona De Tucson home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to make certain you'll get the appropriate training. Don't forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within Corona De Tucson AZ and throughout the USA, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief descriptions of 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 more 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 needed to drive 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. 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Corona De Tucson AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Corona De Tucson AZ area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school's course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Corona De Tucson AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school's track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Corona De Tucson AZ schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it's important 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 requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will furnish sufficient 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Corona De Tucson AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It's possible to obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Corona De Tucson AZ schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it's important that the Corona De Tucson AZ school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you're having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Corona De Tucson AZ employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Corona De Tucson AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enroll in the Best Corona De Tucson CDL Training
Picking the right truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It's your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Corona De Tucson Arizona.