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How to Choose the Right Truck Driver Classes near Rincon Valley Arizona

Rincon Valley Arizona truck carrying cargoCongrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Rincon Valley AZ. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it's essential to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you'll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Rincon Valley home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you'll receive the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will ultimately need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?

Rincon Valley Arizona truck driving down highway

In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within Rincon Valley AZ and throughout the United States, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries for the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 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. 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 require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.

How to Assess a CDL School

Rincon Valley Arizona cement truck with flag paint job

Once you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Rincon Valley AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional factors that you need to research while performing 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 Rincon Valley AZ area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Rincon Valley AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school's history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, 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 trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Rincon Valley AZ schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it's essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing 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? Above all else, an excellent trucking 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary 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 Rincon Valley AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It's possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving 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 rather than having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Rincon Valley AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it's imperative that the Rincon Valley AZ school you select 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 employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained 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 looking at have job placement programs. Find out 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 referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Rincon Valley AZ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Rincon Valley AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.

Learn More About Rincon Valley CDL Schools

Choose the Best Rincon Valley Truck Driver Training

Choosing the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver's success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It's your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Rincon Valley Arizona.

 

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