How to Select the Right Trucking Classes near Queen Creek Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Queen Creek AZ. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it's imperative to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you'll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Queen Creek residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best method to make certain you'll get the right training. Don't forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within Queen Creek AZ and throughout the USA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 required to operate 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 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 might also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Queen Creek AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Queen Creek AZ area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school's course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked 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 Queen Creek AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school's history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won't share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next 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 obtaining the individual 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 professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Queen Creek 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 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 several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to 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.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will provide 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 operating 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 she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Queen Creek AZ schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Queen Creek AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking 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 advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it's essential that the Queen Creek AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you're having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Queen Creek AZ employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Queen Creek AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Find Out More About Queen Creek Trucker Schools
Choose the Best Queen Creek Truck Driver Training
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver's success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It's your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Queen Creek Arizona.
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