How to Decide on a Truck Driving School Cave Creek Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Cave Creek AZ. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Cave Creek home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations 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 address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Cave Creek AZ, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive 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 need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Cave Creek AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some additional points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Cave Creek AZ area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Cave Creek AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt 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? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Cave Creek AZ schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through 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 good trucking school will provide lots of 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard 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 Cave Creek AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous 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 giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Cave Creek AZ schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted 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 of other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Cave Creek AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend 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 obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Cave Creek AZ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Cave Creek AZ area technical or vocational 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 navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Cave Creek AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Cave Creek Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Cave Creek, Arizona
There are various historic properties and artifacts in the town of Cave Creek. Located on the grounds of the Cave Creek Museum are the Tubercular Cabin, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the First Church of Cave Creek and Golden Reef Stamp Mill. Two of the historic properties have been converted into restaurants. They are the Cave Creek Service Station, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Cave Creek Inn. Frontier Town which has some of Cave Creeks original structures is also pictured.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 28.2 square miles (73 km2), all land. It is adjacent to the town of Carefree, and shares local landmark Black Mountain with Carefree.
There are two notable streams known as Cave Creek in Arizona. One flows through the Town of Cave Creek and into Phoenix. This may be the origin of the Town's name. The other Cave Creek (Cave Creek Canyon) is in the Chiricahua Mountains, 200 miles to the southeast.
Select the Ideal Trucking School Cave Creek AZ
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold 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 large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Cave Creek AZ.
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