CDL Class Surprise AZ

How to Pick the Right CDL Driving School near Surprise Arizona

long haul tractor trailer in Surprise AZCongratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Surprise AZ. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Surprise home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified 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 address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.

Which CDL Will You Need?

tanker truck in Surprise AZIn order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Surprise AZ, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight 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 brief explanations for the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.

How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School

Questions to ask Surprise AZ truck driving schoolsOnce you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Surprise AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are a few additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Surprise AZ area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Surprise AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, 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 industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.

How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion 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 particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Surprise AZ schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some 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.

Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, 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 substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Surprise AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Surprise AZ schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Surprise 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 instructor should be prepared to commit 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify 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 firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Surprise AZ employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Surprise AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. 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 need to be submitted.

Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Surprise AZ?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Surprise Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Surprise, Arizona

Surprise is a city in Maricopa County, in the U.S. state of Arizona. The population was 30,848 at the 2000 census; however, rapid expansion has boosted the city's population to 117,517 at the 2010 census, an increase of 281%.[2] As such, it is the second-fastest-expanding municipality in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area (after Gilbert) and, between 1990 and 2000, it was the sixth-fastest-expanding place among all cities and towns in Arizona.

The city has a 10,562-square-foot (981.2 m2) Aquatics Center and Maricopa County's northwest regional library, a $5.5 million, 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) library, along with a 100.3 cost of living index.

The city was founded in 1938 by Flora Mae Statler, who named it Surprise as she "would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much".[4] Surprise officials previously thought the city was founded by Statler's husband, real estate developer and state legislator Homer C. Ludden, but in 2010 property records were discovered which listed Statler owning the land before she met Ludden.[5]

CDL Class Surprise AZ

Surprise AZ long haul truckChoosing the right trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Class.  However, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Surprise AZ.

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      CDL Truck School is a training provider for the Workforce Investment Act. We have been successful in training hundreds of agency studentsfrom Maricopa One-Stop Centers, DES Vocational Rehabilitation, DES Jobs, Maricopa Workforce Connection, Phoenix Workforce Connection, and City of Phoenix. Contact us in the office for more information.

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