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How to Assess a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the New Kingman Butler AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the New Kingman Butler AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top New Kingman Butler AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school's history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won't provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next 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 obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most New Kingman Butler AZ schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it's essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the New Kingman Butler AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It's possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the New Kingman Butler AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it's important that the New Kingman Butler AZ school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you're having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at 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 hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many New Kingman Butler AZ employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other New Kingman Butler AZ area trade or technical 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 least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.