How to Select the Best Truck Driving Classes near Guadalupe Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Guadalupe AZ. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it's essential to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you'll want to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Guadalupe residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you'll get the right training. Don't forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target 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 remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within Guadalupe AZ and throughout the United States, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Guadalupe AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Guadalupe AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will satisfy 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 business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Guadalupe AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school's history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized attention 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 insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Guadalupe AZ schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously stated, it's imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements 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 regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit 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 completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide ample 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 essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Guadalupe AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Guadalupe AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it's important that the Guadalupe AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you're having difficulty 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 employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Guadalupe AZ employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Guadalupe AZ area technical or vocational 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.
Enroll in the Right Guadalupe Truck Driver Training
Choosing the right truck driving school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver's success. However, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It's your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Guadalupe Arizona.