How to Choose the Best CDL Training Classes near Kingman Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Kingman AZ. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it's imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you'll want to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Kingman residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best means to make certain you'll obtain the appropriate training. Don't forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within Kingman AZ and throughout the USA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class 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). Following are brief summaries for the two 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. A few 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Kingman AZ truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Kingman AZ area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided 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 caliber, and that they will get 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 program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will measure up to 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 operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Kingman AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school's track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won't share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to contact the Arizona licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Kingman AZ schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it's important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Kingman AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Kingman AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. 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 convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it's essential that the Kingman AZ school you choose 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 prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Kingman AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Kingman AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enroll in the Right Kingman CDL Training
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets 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 crucial to a new driver's success. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It's your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Kingman Arizona.