How to Pick the Right Truck Driver School near Safford Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Safford AZ. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Safford residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That 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 ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Safford AZ, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss 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). Following are short descriptions of the two 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. Some 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 needed to drive 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. 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Safford AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Safford AZ area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Safford AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, 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 personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Safford AZ schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish plenty 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 operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Safford AZ schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Safford AZ schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Safford 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 particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Safford AZ employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Safford AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Safford AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Safford Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Safford (Western Apache: Ichʼįʼ Nahiłtį́į́) is a city in Graham County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 9,566. The city is the county seat of Graham County.
Safford is located at 32°49′24″N 109°42′53″W / 32.82333°N 109.71472°W / 32.82333; -109.71472 (32.823266, -109.714613). The Pinaleno Mountains sit prominently to the southwest of town. The Pinalenos have the greatest vertical relief of any mountain range in Arizona.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22 km2), of which, 8.6 square miles (22 km2) of it is land and 0.03 square miles (0.078 km2) of it (0.18%) is water.
Truck Driving Jobs Training Safford AZ
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving Jobs Training. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Safford AZ.
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