How to Select a CDL Training School Colorado City Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Colorado City AZ. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by selecting 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 ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Colorado City residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Colorado City AZ, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and 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). Following are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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 Commercial Drivers License is required 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 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Colorado City AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some more things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Colorado City AZ area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Colorado City AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing department to confirm 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 teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining 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 comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Colorado City AZ schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide sufficient 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 necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Colorado City AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive 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 having associations with many different 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 be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Colorado City AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Colorado City AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Colorado City AZ employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Colorado City AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid 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 Colorado City AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Colorado City Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Colorado City, Arizona
Colorado City is a town in Mohave County, Arizona, United States, and is located in a region known as the Arizona Strip. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 4,821. At least three Mormon fundamentalist sects are said to have been based there.
Colorado City, formerly known as Short Creek (or the Short Creek Community), was founded in 1913 by members of the Council of Friends, a breakaway group from the Salt Lake City-based The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The Council of Friends membership desired a remote location where they could practice plural marriage, which had been publicly abandoned by the LDS Church in 1890. On July 26, 1953, Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle sent troops into the settlement to stop polygamy in what became known as the Short Creek raid. The two-year legal battle that followed became a public relations disaster that damaged Pyle's political career and set a hands-off tone toward the town in Arizona for the next 50 years.
After the death of Joseph W. Musser, the community split into two groups: the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stayed in Short Creek, while the Apostolic United Brethren relocated to Bluffdale, Utah. The FLDS changed the name of the community to Colorado City (on the Arizona side of the border) and Hildale (on the Utah side) to eliminate any ties to the Short Creek raids.
Choose the Ideal Truck Driver School Colorado City AZ
Selecting the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many 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 our country move as a professional truck driver in Colorado City AZ.
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