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How to Research a CDL School

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Once you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Litchfield Park AZ truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are several additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Litchfield Park AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school's course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with 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 negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Litchfield Park AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple 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 provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to contact the Arizona licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, 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 personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Litchfield Park AZ schools offer training programs that run from three 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 drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.

Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good 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 operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Litchfield Park AZ schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It's possible to receive free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Litchfield Park AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it's imperative that the Litchfield Park AZ school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you're having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out 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 hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Litchfield Park AZ employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Litchfield Park AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.

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