How to Pick the Right CDL Training Classes near Doney Park Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Doney Park AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it's imperative to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you'll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Doney Park home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal method to make certain you'll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams 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 cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within Doney Park AZ and throughout the USA, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 summaries 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. 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 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 kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Doney Park AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Doney Park AZ area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school's program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving 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 best of Doney Park AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school's track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to contact the Arizona licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. 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 instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Doney Park AZ schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it's imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also vital that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to 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 ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish plenty of 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Doney Park AZ schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It's possible to receive free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous 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 surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Doney Park AZ schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it's essential that the Doney Park AZ school you select offers 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 prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance 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 placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Doney Park AZ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Doney Park AZ area technical or vocational 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 assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enroll in the Best Doney Park Truck Driver Training
Choosing the right truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get 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 may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It's your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Doney Park Arizona.