How to Decide on the Right Trucker School near Page Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Page AZ. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it's imperative to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you'll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Page residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal method to make certain you'll get the proper education. Don't forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within Page AZ and throughout the United States, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions 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. Some 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 may also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Page AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are some more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Page AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Page AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school's history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won't provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arizona licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly 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 drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Page AZ schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it's essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish lots of 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Page AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Page AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it's imperative that the Page 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 particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Page AZ employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Page 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 reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Choose the Right Page Truck Driver Training
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver's success. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It's your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Page Arizona.