How to Enroll in the Right Trucker School near Somerton Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Somerton AZ. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Somerton residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Somerton AZ, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive 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 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 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. 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Somerton AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Somerton AZ area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Somerton AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of 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 get in touch with the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk 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 higher, then students will not be getting the personal 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 professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Somerton 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 Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative 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 qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out 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 satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide ample 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential 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 be. Although driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Somerton AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Somerton AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Somerton AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering 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 referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Somerton AZ employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Somerton AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Somerton AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Somerton Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,266 people, 1,818 households, and 1,652 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,483.2 people per square mile (2,109.3/km²). There were 1,967 housing units at an average density of 1,484.4 per square mile (571.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 44.52% White, 0.37% Black or African American, 0.65% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 51.11% from other races, and 2.99% from two or more races. 95.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,818 households out of which 59.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.9% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 9.1% were non-families. 7.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.99 and the average family size was 4.21.
In the city, the population was spread out with 38.9% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 14.4% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.3 males.
Truck Driving School Somerton AZ
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many 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 Truck Driving School. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need 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 choose an independent trucking school and have the option of driving 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 soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Somerton AZ.
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Tuition at a truck driving school can range anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. If you don’t qualify for a state or Federal grant, can’t qualify for a bank loan and don’t have a friend or relative willing to support the investment of your education, you shouldn’t despair.