How to Enroll in the Right Trucker School near Glendale Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Glendale AZ. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it's imperative to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you'll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Glendale home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make sure you'll get the right education. Don't forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within Glendale AZ and throughout the USA, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are brief explanations 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Glendale AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few more points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Glendale AZ area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost 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 caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Glendale AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school's track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Arizona licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following 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 receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Glendale AZ schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it's important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Glendale AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with a wide range of 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. 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 be sure to ask if the Glendale AZ schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. 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 battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it's important that the Glendale AZ school you select offers 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 prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Glendale AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Glendale AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Enroll in the Best Glendale Truck Driver Training
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape 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 necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It's your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Glendale Arizona.