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How to Enroll in the Right Trucking Classes near Nogales Arizona

Nogales Arizona tractor trailer carrying payloadCongratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Nogales AZ. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it's imperative to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you'll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Nogales home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to ensure you'll receive the right education. Don't forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?

Nogales Arizona truck driving down road

In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within Nogales AZ and throughout the United States, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are short summaries of the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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. Several 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.

How to Assess a Trucking School

Nogales Arizona cement mixer truck with patriotic paint job

As soon as you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Nogales AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can't be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some additional points that you should research while carrying out 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 Nogales AZ area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent 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 quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Nogales AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school's track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won't share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.

How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, 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 personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Nogales AZ schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it's important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several 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 vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.

Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Nogales AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Nogales AZ schools you are looking at 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 students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it's important that the Nogales AZ school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you're having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver's license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Nogales AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Nogales AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.

Find Out More About Nogales Trucker Classes

Enroll in the Best Nogales CDL Training

Picking the right truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It's your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Nogales Arizona.

 

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