How to Select the Right CDL Driving School near Parker Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Parker AZ. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Parker home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on 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 CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Parker AZ, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight 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 brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 drivers may be able to operate 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 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 need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Parker AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Parker AZ area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost 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. Interested 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 requires 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively 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 Parker AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no 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 look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Parker AZ schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some 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? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Parker AZ schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous 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 flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Parker AZ schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Parker AZ school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time 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 holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Parker AZ employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Parker 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 assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Parker AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Parker Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Parker (Mojave 'Amat Kuhwely, formerly 'Ahwe Nyava) is the county seat of La Paz County, Arizona, United States, on the Colorado River in Parker Valley. The population was 3,083 at the 2010 census.
Founded in 1908, the town was named after Ely Parker, the first Native American commissioner for the U.S. government. The original town site of Parker was surveyed and laid out in 1909 by a railroad location engineer by the name of Earl. H. Parker for the Arizona & California Railway. The town officially incorporated in 1948 and became the county seat for the newly created La Paz county on January 1, 1983.
The town's name and origin began when a post office called Parker was established January 6, 1871, at Parker's Landing and the site of the Parker Indian Agency, named for Ely Parker, on the Colorado River Indian Reservation, 4 miles down river from the site of the railroad bridge of the modern town, to serve the Indian agency.:118 What became Parkers Landing was established on the river as the place to land and pick up cargo and personnel for the Indian Agency and the U. S. Army detachment that was stationed there at Camp Colorado from 1864 to 1869 during the first years of the Reservation. Camp Colorado was abandoned after wind blown sparks from the departing steamboat Cocopah rapidly burned down the brush huts of the officers of the garrison, and endangered its barracks and storehouses. :66, n.61
How To Obtain A Class A CDL Parker AZ
Choosing the right truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Obtain A Class A CDL. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, 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 entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Parker AZ.
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