How to Find the Best Truck Driving Classes near Fort Mohave Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Fort Mohave AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it's essential to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you'll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Fort Mohave home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you'll obtain the appropriate education. Don't forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills 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 decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within Fort Mohave AZ and throughout the USA, a driver 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. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss 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 summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 CDL 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. 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 require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Fort Mohave AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are several additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Fort Mohave AZ area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Fort Mohave AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school's track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn't hurt to check with the Arizona licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher 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 watch out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Fort Mohave AZ schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it's imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish sufficient 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard 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 Fort Mohave AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver 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 relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Fort Mohave 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 permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted 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 from other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it's imperative that the Fort Mohave AZ school you enroll in offers 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 devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out 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 lower job placement rate or not many Fort Mohave AZ employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Fort Mohave AZ area trade or technical 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 assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Choose the Best Fort Mohave CDL Training
Picking the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver's success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may 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 enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It's your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Fort Mohave Arizona.