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How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Eloy AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are a few additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Eloy AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school's program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high standards 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 operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Eloy 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 concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won't provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, 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 attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Eloy AZ schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it's imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Eloy AZ schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations 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 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 some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Eloy AZ schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it's important that the Eloy 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 teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have acquired your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Eloy AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Eloy AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.