How to Choose the Right Trucking Classes near Rincon Valley Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Rincon Valley AZ. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it's imperative to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you'll need to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Rincon Valley home. 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 proper education. Don't forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on 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 eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within Rincon Valley AZ and throughout the USA, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 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. 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 might also need endorsements to operate specific 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 license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Rincon Valley AZ truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Rincon 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. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school's program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver 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. However, even the top Rincon Valley AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school's history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won't supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Arizona licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train 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 takes time. Most Rincon Valley AZ schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it's essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide lots of 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 important training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good 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 Rincon Valley AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It's possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. 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 place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. 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 inquire if the Rincon Valley AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it's important that the Rincon 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 are proficient. And if you're still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver's license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Rincon Valley AZ employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Rincon Valley AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enroll in the Best Rincon Valley Truck Driver Training
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to think about 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 trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It's your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Rincon Valley Arizona.