How to Find the Best Truck Driving Classes near Queen Creek Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Queen Creek AZ. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it's essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you'll want to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Queen Creek residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to make sure you'll get the right training. Don't forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within Queen Creek AZ and throughout the United States, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are short explanations of the two 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 operators may be able to drive 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive 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. A few 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Queen Creek AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can't be emphasized 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 below are some more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Queen Creek AZ area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective 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 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 fulfill 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 operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Queen Creek 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 numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arizona licensing department to make sure 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 discuss more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, 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 insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Queen Creek AZ schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it's essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great 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 real 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 alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Queen Creek AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive 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 Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving 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 other schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it's important that the Queen Creek AZ school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you're having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still working while attending 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 acquired 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 looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Queen Creek AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Queen Creek AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enroll in the Right Queen Creek Truck Driver Training
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance 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 critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. However, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to look into 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 truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It's your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Queen Creek Arizona.