How to Choose the Right Truck Driving School near Ajo Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Ajo AZ. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Ajo residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal 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 remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Ajo AZ, a driver 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. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on 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 summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Ajo AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are several additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Ajo AZ area are accredited because of the stringent 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 obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Ajo AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use 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 graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality 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 trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Ajo AZ schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied 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. Besides, 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 tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Ajo AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. 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 receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Ajo AZ schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Ajo AZ school you enroll in offers 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 willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering 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 placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Ajo AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Ajo 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 assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Ajo AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Ajo Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Ajo (/ˈɑːhoʊ/ AH-hoh; O'odham: Moik Wahia or O'odham: ʼOʼoho) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Pima County, Arizona, United States. The population was 3,304 at the 2010 census. Ajo is located on State Route 85 just 43 miles (69 km) from the Mexican border. It is the closest community to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
Ajo is the Spanish word for garlic (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈaxo]). The Spanish may have named the place using the familiar word in place of the similar-sounding O'odham word for paint (oʼoho). The Tohono O'odham people obtained red paint pigments from the area.
Native Americans, Spaniards, and Americans have all extracted mineral wealth from Ajo's abundant ore deposits. In the early nineteenth century, there was a Spanish mine nicknamed "Old Bat Hole" that was abandoned due to Indian raids. Tom Childs, Sr., found the deserted mine complete with a 60-foot (18 m) shaft, mesquite ladders, and rawhide buckets in 1847. He did not stay long at that time, because he was on his way to the silver mines near Magdalena de Kino, Sonora.
CDL Truck School Ajo AZ
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available 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 CDL Truck School. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want 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 choose an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Ajo AZ.
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