How to Select the Right Trucker School near San Luis Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near San Luis AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your San Luis home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and San Luis AZ, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select 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 brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 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. A few 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of researching the San Luis AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are a few more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the San Luis AZ area are accredited due to the demanding 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 required to become certified, but there are a number of 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 actual 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of San Luis AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk 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 higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most San Luis AZ schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors 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 quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide sufficient 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates among 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 San Luis AZ schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with 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 limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the San Luis AZ schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. 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 accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the San Luis AZ school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio 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 lower job placement rate or few San Luis AZ employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other San Luis AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near San Luis AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the San Luis Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
San Luis, Arizona
San Luis (the Spanish language name of Saint Louis) is a city in Yuma County, Arizona, United States. The population was 25,505 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Yuma Metropolitan Statistical Area. San Luis, located in the southwest corner of the state directly adjacent to Mexico's Federal Highway 2 at San Luis Rio Colorado, was the second fastest-growing city or town in Arizona from 1990 to 2000. According to 2014 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 31,091.
The city was established in 1930 with the opening of a border-crossing station. In the last twenty years it has registered an accelerated population increase, going from 1,946 inhabitants in 1980, to approximately 20,000 in the year 2005. The city annexed over 16,000 acres (65 km2) of land between 2006 and 2012, thereby increasing the availability of land for residential, commercial and industrial growth in the eastern part of town where the new commercial port of entry will be constructed.
San Luis is located at 32°29′46″N 114°46′6″W / 32.49611°N 114.76833°W / 32.49611; -114.76833 (32.496116, -114.768327). It stands on the U.S.-Mexico border, opposite San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora. The lowest point in Arizona is located on the Colorado River in San Luis, where it flows out of Arizona and into Sonora.
How To Be A Trucker San Luis AZ
Choosing the right truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge 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 Be A Trucker. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower 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 company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in San Luis AZ.
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