How to Choose the Right Trucker School near Superior Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Superior AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Superior residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal 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 goal 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 discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Superior AZ, an operator must attain 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. Since the subject of this article is how to select 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). Below are short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Superior AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are several more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Superior AZ area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, 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 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 usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Superior 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 history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, 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. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Superior AZ schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some 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.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Superior AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Superior AZ schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Superior AZ school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Superior AZ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Superior 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 reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Superior AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Superior Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Superior (Western Apache: Yooʼ Łigai) is a town in Pinal County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town is 2,837. Superior was founded as a mining town for the Silver Queen and the later Magma mines.
Such films as U Turn by Oliver Stone, Eight Legged Freaks, How the West Was Won, Blind Justice, The Prophecy, Skinwalkers, The Gauntlet with Clint Eastwood, and Young Billy Young are set in Superior. In 2005, a sci-fi film named The Salena Incident, also called Alien Invasion Arizona, was filmed in Superior.
During the 1870s, at the height of the American Indian Wars; a company of Apache horsemen were ambushed by US cavalry. After losing 50 men; the Apache retreated up the mountain later named Apache Leap. Accepting defeat; the remaining 75 Apache leapt to their death rather than being captured by the US army. http://www.nativehistorymagazine.com/2013/02/the-legend-of-apache-tears.html
Commercial Drivers License Classes Superior AZ
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is a critical 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 shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Commercial Drivers License Classes. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary 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 lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Superior AZ.
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