How to Decide on a CDL Training School Congress Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Congress AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Congress home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills 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 choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance 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?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Congress AZ, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind 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 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 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 kinds 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 licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Congress AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Congress AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated 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 top Congress AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. 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 additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arizona licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Congress AZ schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach 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 completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great 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 important training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Congress AZ schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Congress AZ schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Congress AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Congress AZ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Congress AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Congress AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Congress Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Congress is a census-designated place (CDP) in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. Once a gold-mining center and then a ghost town, Congress now serves as a retirement and bedroom community for nearby Wickenburg. The population was 1,717 at the 2000 census.
Gold was discovered at Congress in 1884. By 1893, the Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix Railway passed within three miles of the mine, at Congress Junction. Congress boomed, and remained prosperous until the mid-1930s, when the mines closed. Total gold production at the Congress Mine exceeded $8 million, at the then-current price of $20.67 per ounce—or about $400 million, at the 2007 price.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 37.7 square miles (98 km2), of which, 37.6 square miles (97 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.08%) is water.
Select the Best Trucking School Congress AZ
Picking the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new vocation 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 a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Congress AZ.
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