How to Enroll in the Best Trucking Classes near Doney Park Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Doney Park AZ. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it's imperative to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you'll want to think about before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Doney Park residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best way to make certain you'll receive the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal 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 commercial driver's license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within Doney Park AZ and throughout the United States, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are short 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 more 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Doney Park AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Doney Park AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense 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. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. For 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue 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 be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Doney Park AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school's history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won't share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good 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 instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be getting 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 be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Doney Park AZ schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it's imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. 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 ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent 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 actual 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 real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates 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. 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 discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally 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 make sure to find out if the Doney Park AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it's important that the Doney Park AZ school you choose provides 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 commit 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 fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Doney Park AZ employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Doney Park AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enroll in the Right Doney Park CDL Training
Picking the right truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It's your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Doney Park Arizona.