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How to Pick the Best CDL Training Classes near Saddlebrooke Arizona

Saddlebrooke Arizona truck hauling payloadCongrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Saddlebrooke AZ. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it's important to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you'll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Saddlebrooke residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal means to ensure you'll get the right training. Don't forget, your goal is to learn 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 decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?

Saddlebrooke Arizona tractor trailer driving down expressway

In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within Saddlebrooke AZ and throughout the USA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 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 pick a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type 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 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 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.

How to Assess a Truck Driver School

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After you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Saddlebrooke AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can't be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Saddlebrooke AZ area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered 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 be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Saddlebrooke AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school's history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. 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 considering are in compliance.

How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention 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 insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Saddlebrooke AZ schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it's essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although 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 teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.

Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will furnish ample 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Saddlebrooke AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive 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 what's known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to 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. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Saddlebrooke AZ schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it's imperative that the Saddlebrooke AZ school you select provides 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 spend 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? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver's license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Saddlebrooke AZ employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Saddlebrooke AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.

Find Out More About Saddlebrooke Truck Driving Schools

Enroll in the Best Saddlebrooke CDL Training

Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance 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 critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need 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 choose an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It's your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Saddlebrooke Arizona.

 

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