How to Pick a CDL Driving School Eloy Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Eloy AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Eloy home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick 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 CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Eloy AZ, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 might also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Eloy AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Eloy AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Eloy AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arizona licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Eloy AZ schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish 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 essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Eloy AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Eloy AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Eloy AZ school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at 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 firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Eloy AZ employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Eloy AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask 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 Eloy AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Eloy Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
According to the U.S. Census of 2000, the city has a total area of 98.9 square miles (256 km2). The city offers a varied range of community facilities for its citizens. Outside the city limits, the city has a planning area of almost 560 square miles (1,500 km2).
As of the census of 2011, there were 16,964 people, 2,492 households, and 1,988 families residing in Eloy. The population density was 144.8 people per square mile (55.9/km²). There were 2,734 housing units at an average density of 38.1 per square mile (14.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 58% Hispanic or Latino, 5.32% Black or African American, 41% White, 4.48% Native American, 1.20% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 31.48% from other races, and 4.71% from two or more races.
There were 2,492 households out of which 50.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.4% were married couples living together, 21.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.2% were non-families. 15.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.57 and the average family size was 3.94.
Pick the Right CDL School Eloy AZ
Choosing the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills 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 if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Eloy AZ.
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