How to Pick a CDL Training School Benson Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Benson AZ. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to think about before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Benson residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Benson AZ, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 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 choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 may also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Benson AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Benson AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Benson 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 track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Benson AZ schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Benson AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Benson AZ schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted 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 centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Benson AZ school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an 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 holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Benson AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Benson AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Benson AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Benson Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Benson is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States, 45 miles (72 km) east-southeast of Tucson. It was founded as a rail terminal for the area, and still serves as such. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 5,105.
The city was founded in 1880 when the Southern Pacific Railroad came through. It was named after Judge William S. Benson, a friend of Charles Crocker, president of the Southern Pacific. The railroad, coming overland from California, chose the Benson site to cross the San Pedro River. Benson then served as a rail junction point to obtain ore and refined metal by wagon, in turn shipping rail freight back to the mines at Tombstone, Fairbank, Contention City and Bisbee. For example, the railhead in Benson was about 25 miles (40 km) from Tombstone, and was the closest rail connection to it until 1882, when a feeder line was laid from Benson to Contention City.
The railhead in Benson was founded about a mile from a traditional crossing of the upper San Pedro River (known also as the Middle Crossing), used by the Southern Emigrant Trail and San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line. It was the site of the San Pedro Station of the Butterfield Overland Mail and a wagon depot, the San Pedro River Station, run since 1871 by William Ohnesorgen. In 1878 he had erected a toll bridge over which mining supplies were transported to the new mining camps such as Fairbank and Tombstone. Two years later this bridge marked the location of the railroad bridge that became the terminal site of Benson.
Choose the Ideal CDL School Benson AZ
Choosing the right truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Benson AZ.
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