How to Find the Right Trucker Classes near Eloy Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Eloy AZ. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it's imperative to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you'll need to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Eloy residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal method to make sure you'll obtain the appropriate education. Don't forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within Eloy AZ and throughout the USA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three classes of licenses 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 highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind 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 descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate 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 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 CDL is needed to operate 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. A few 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 types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Eloy AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are a few additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Eloy AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Eloy AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school's track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won't supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to check with the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention 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 professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Eloy AZ schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it's essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will furnish lots 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Eloy AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Eloy AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it's essential that the Eloy AZ school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you're having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Eloy AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Eloy AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Choose the Best Eloy Truck Driver Training
Choosing the ideal trucking school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge 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. However, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need 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 select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It's your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Eloy Arizona.