How to Decide on the Right CDL Training School near Clarkdale Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Clarkdale AZ. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Clarkdale residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Clarkdale AZ, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving 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 as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. A few 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 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 drive certain types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Clarkdale AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Clarkdale AZ area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Clarkdale AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arizona licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Clarkdale AZ schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements 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 regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing 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 face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will provide lots of 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 operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although 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. Contact the Clarkdale AZ schools you are researching and find out 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 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 provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Clarkdale AZ schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Clarkdale AZ school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Clarkdale AZ employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Clarkdale AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Clarkdale AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Clarkdale Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Clarkdale (Yavapai: Saupkasuiva) is a town in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. The Verde River flows through the town as does Bitter Creek, an intermittent tributary of the river. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 4,097.
Clarkdale was founded in 1912 as a company smelter town by William A. Clark, for his copper mine in nearby Jerome. Clarkdale was one of the most modern mining towns in the world, including telephone, telegraph, electrical, sewer and spring water services, and was an early example of a planned community. The Clark Mansion, a local landmark, was built in the late 1920s by William Clark III, Clark's grandson and heir to the United Verde Copper Company. The structure, east of town across the Verde River near Pecks Lake, was destroyed in 2010 by a fire of "suspicious" origin.
The town center and business district were built in Spanish Colonial style, and feature the Clark Memorial Clubhouse and Memorial Library, both still in use. The Clubhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The entire original town site is also on the National Register as the Clarkdale Historic District.
Best Trucking Schools Clarkdale AZ
Picking the right trucking school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills 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 if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Best Trucking Schools. However, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need 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 CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Clarkdale AZ.
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