How to Choose the Right CDL Driving School near Winslow Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Winslow AZ. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to think about before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Winslow residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge 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? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Winslow AZ, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick 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 together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate 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 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 more 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Winslow AZ truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few more points that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Winslow AZ area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Winslow AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective 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 teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Winslow AZ schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask 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 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Winslow AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Winslow AZ schools you are contemplating 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 trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Winslow AZ school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Winslow AZ employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Winslow 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 examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Winslow AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Winslow Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Winslow (Navajo: Béésh Sinil) is a city in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 9,655. It is located approximately 75 miles (121 km) SE of Flagstaff, 320 miles (510 km) W of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and 329 miles (529 km) SE of Las Vegas.
Winslow was named for either Edward F. Winslow, president of St. Louis and San Francisco Rail Road, which owned one half of the old Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, or Tom Winslow, a prospector who lived in the area.
The last Harvey House (La Posada Hotel) opened in 1930. It was designed by Mary Colter. The hotel closed in 1957 and was used by the Santa Fe Railway for offices. The railroad abandoned La Posada in 1994 and announced plans to tear it down. It was bought and restored by Allan Affeldt and it currently serves as a hotel.
Truck Driver Schools Winslow AZ
Picking the right truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driver Schools. However, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money 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 enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Winslow AZ.
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