How to Select the Right Trucker School near Laveen Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Laveen AZ. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Laveen residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Laveen AZ, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 CDL 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. Some 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 school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Laveen AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are a few more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Laveen AZ area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Laveen AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual instruction 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 comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Laveen AZ schools offer 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 already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide plenty of 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he 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. Get in touch with the Laveen AZ schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Laveen AZ schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Laveen AZ school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time 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 Placement Provided? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at 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 placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Laveen AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Laveen AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Laveen AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Laveen Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Laveen /ləˈviːn/ is an "urban village" within the city of Phoenix in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, situated eight miles (13 km) southwest of Downtown Phoenix between South Mountain and the confluence of the Gila and Salt rivers. Parts of Laveen constitute an unincorporated community in Maricopa County, while the remainder falls within the city limits of Phoenix, constituting the city's "Laveen Village". Laveen Village is split between District 7 and District 8, both notable as minority-majority districts for the city. Although Laveen has been home to "pastoral alfalfa, cotton, and dairy farms" since the 1880s, housing and commercial developments have been increasingly urbanizing the area.
The Laveen area was first settled by farmers and dairymen in 1884. Despite its proximity to Phoenix, the community was isolated from its larger neighbor by the Salt River, which until the Roosevelt Dam was completed in 1911 carried water year-round. The only bridged crossing was at Central Avenue, more than six miles (10 km) away. Because of its isolation, like the rest of south Phoenix early Laveen was autonomous of Phoenix and became relatively self-sufficient, supporting two general stores, a barbershop, repair garage, two pool halls, and a building for the Laveen Women's Club. These businesses served as important gathering places for the greater Laveen community, which includes modern south Phoenix and the neighboring Gila River Indian Community (GRIC).
In the early 1900s, Walter E. Laveen and his family homesteaded an area encompassing all four corners of present-day 51st Avenue and Dobbins Road, where they also built the area's first general store—the Laveen Store—on the southeast corner. Members of the Laveen family donated land adjacent to their store for a school, which was built in 1913 and named Laveen School. A second general store, the Del Monte Market, was built in 1908 at 27th Avenue and Dobbins Road and is considered the oldest still standing building in Laveen.
Truck Drivers School Laveen AZ
Selecting the ideal 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 mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Drivers School. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving 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 get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Laveen AZ.
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