How to Choose a Truck Driving School Green Valley Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Green Valley AZ. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Green Valley home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest 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?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Green Valley AZ, an operator needs to 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 driver school, we will address 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). Below are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 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. Some 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Green Valley AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Green Valley AZ area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Green Valley AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors 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 individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Green Valley AZ schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional 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. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. 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 qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver 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 driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Green Valley AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive 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 having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Green Valley 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 allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Green Valley AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared 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 Assistance Provided? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Green Valley AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Green Valley AZ area technical or vocational 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 aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Green Valley AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Green Valley Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Green Valley, Arizona
Green Valley is located along the western side of the Santa Cruz River at 31°51′N 111°0′W / 31.850°N 111.000°W / 31.850; -111.000 (31.8556, -111.0001).Continental is to the east of Green Valley, on the other side of the river.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 26.3 square miles (68.0 km²), of which, 26.2 square miles (68.0 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.08%) is water.
Green Valley is twenty miles (32 km) south of Tucson and 40 miles (64 km) north of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Surrounded by copper mines, and near the cycling, hiking and birding areas of the Santa Rita Mountains, Green Valley is an unincorporated retirement community composed of 59 Homeowner Associations.
Choose the Ideal Trucking School Green Valley AZ
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning 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 offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Green Valley AZ.
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