How to Select the Right CDL Driving School near Sedona Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Sedona AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Sedona residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master 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 pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Sedona AZ, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class 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). Following are brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 operate certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Sedona AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Sedona AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Sedona AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking 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 receiving the personal 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Sedona AZ schools provide training programs that run from 3 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 qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors 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 quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Sedona AZ schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Sedona AZ schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Sedona AZ school you select 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 instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Sedona AZ employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Sedona AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Sedona AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Sedona Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Sedona /sɪˈdoʊnə/ is a city that straddles the county line between Coconino and Yavapai counties in the northern Verde Valley region of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, its population was 10,031.
Sedona's main attraction is its array of red sandstone formations. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The red rocks form a popular backdrop for many activities, ranging from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails.
Sedona was named after Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly (1877–1950), the wife of Theodore Carlton Schnebly, the city's first postmaster, who was celebrated for her hospitality and industriousness. Her mother, Amanda Miller, claimed to have made the name up because "it sounded pretty".
Good Truck Driving Schools Sedona AZ
Selecting the right truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered 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 Good Truck Driving Schools. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Sedona AZ.
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