|TRUCK DRIVING SCHOOLS||CDL TRAINING||CDL SCHOOLS||TRUCKING SCHOOLS|
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Oro Valley AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Oro Valley AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required 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 plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks 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 poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Oro Valley AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school's track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won't share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn't hurt to check with the Arizona licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Oro Valley AZ schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it's imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good 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. Although 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 he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Oro Valley AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It's possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous 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 best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Oro Valley AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it's important that the Oro Valley AZ school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you're having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Oro Valley AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Oro Valley AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.