How to Pick the Right Truck Driving School near Fountain Hills Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Fountain Hills AZ. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Fountain Hills residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to learn 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 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?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Fountain Hills AZ, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person 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 discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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 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 CDL is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 might also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Fountain Hills AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Fountain Hills AZ area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace 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. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Fountain Hills AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Fountain Hills AZ schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Fountain Hills AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with numerous 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 freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Fountain Hills AZ schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 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 looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Fountain Hills AZ school you choose 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 instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Fountain Hills AZ employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Fountain Hills AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Fountain Hills AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Fountain Hills Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Fountain Hills, Arizona
Fountain Hills is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. Known for its impressive fountain, once the tallest in the world, it borders on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and Scottsdale, Arizona. The population is 22,489, as of the 2010 census. Between the 1990 and 2000 censuses it was the eighth-fastest-growing place among cities and towns in Arizona.
In the early 1900's, the area that became Fountain Hills and the McDowell Mountain Regional Park was part of the Pemberton Ranch, later renamed the P Bar Ranch. Fountain Hills High School is built on the site of one of the P Bar Ranch's buildings, and a plaque stands in the parking lot to commemorate this.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.2 square miles (47.1 km2), of which 18.1 square miles (46.9 km2) is land and 0.1 square mile (0.26 km2) (0.55%) is water.
Obtaining A CDL Fountain Hills AZ
Picking the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several 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 Obtaining A CDL. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to think about 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 truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Fountain Hills AZ.
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