How to Find the Right Trucker School near San Manuel Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near San Manuel AZ. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your San Manuel home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover 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 Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and San Manuel AZ, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short summaries of the two 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. Several 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 required to drive 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. 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 might also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the San Manuel AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the San Manuel AZ area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top San Manuel AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next 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 individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most San Manuel AZ schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will furnish 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary 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 become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the San Manuel AZ schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the San Manuel AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the San Manuel 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 particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many San Manuel AZ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other San Manuel AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. 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 must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near San Manuel AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the San Manuel Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
San Manuel, Arizona
San Manuel was built in 1953 by Del E. Webb Construction Company as a company town to serve the then-new San Manuel copper mine, mill and smelter complex. When copper prices fell in the late 1990s, Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP), the owner of the mine and smelter complex shuttered both operations in June 1999. The closing saw 2,500 people lose their jobs. The mine and smelter were permanently closed in 2003.
The town is on the edge of the Sonoran Desert and overlooks the San Pedro River valley and panoramic Galiuro Mountains. Today San Manuel is a destination for leisure, hunting, backroad travel and off-road dirt bikes and ATV's. It also is a gateway city of The Arizona Trail. Nearby towns are Oracle and Mammoth. Both are within 10 mi (16 km) of San Manuel and make up a tri-community area.
San Manuel is located at 32°36′18″N 110°38′0″W / 32.60500°N 110.63333°W / 32.60500; -110.63333 (32.605048, -110.633340), in the San Pedro River Valley at an elevation of about 3,500 feet (1,100 m). San Manuel is about 45 miles (72 km) northeast of Tucson.
The Best Truck Driving Schools San Manuel AZ
Picking the right truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several 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 The Best Truck Driving Schools. However, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in San Manuel AZ.
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