How to Pick the Right Trucker Classes near Eloy Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Eloy AZ. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it's essential to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you'll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Eloy home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to make certain you'll obtain the right education. Don't forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within Eloy AZ and throughout the United States, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 operate 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. 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Eloy AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are several more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Eloy AZ area are accredited because of the demanding 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 certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly 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 top Eloy AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school's track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won't supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Eloy AZ schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it's essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also vital that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish ample 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 necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable standard 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 Eloy AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It's possible to get free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Eloy 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 several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it's essential that the Eloy AZ school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you're having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Eloy AZ employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Eloy AZ area technical or vocational 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 submitted.
Choose the Right Eloy Truck Driver Training
Choosing the right trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets 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 appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It's your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Eloy Arizona.