How to Enroll in the Right CDL Driving Classes near Globe Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Globe AZ. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it's imperative to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you'll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Globe residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal means to make sure you'll obtain the right education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within Globe AZ and throughout the United States, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type 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 CDL is required 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 drivers may be able to operate 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Globe AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are several more things that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Globe AZ area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost 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 a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Globe AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school's history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won't share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Globe AZ schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it's essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving 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. Even though 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 become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Globe AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It's possible to get discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Globe AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed 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 other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it's important that the Globe AZ school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you're having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver's license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Globe AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Globe AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Choose the Best Globe CDL Training
Choosing the right trucking school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower 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 option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It's your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Globe Arizona.