How to Enroll in the Right Trucker School near Casa Grande Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Casa Grande AZ. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Casa Grande home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target 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 legally within the USA and Casa Grande AZ, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 of 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 greater 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 CDL 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. 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Casa Grande AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Casa Grande AZ area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost 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 an ample amount of driving time. As an 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed 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 Casa Grande AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher 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 regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Casa Grande AZ schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative 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 criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Casa Grande AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, 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. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Casa Grande AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third 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 offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Casa Grande AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new career. Verify 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 companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Casa Grande AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Casa Grande AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Casa Grande AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Casa Grande Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Casa Grande, Arizona
Casa Grande (O'odham: Wainom Wo:g) is a city in Pinal County, approximately halfway between Phoenix and Tucson in the U.S. state of Arizona. According to U.S. Census estimates, the population of the city is 55,477 as of 2017. It is named after the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, which is actually located in Coolidge. "Casa Grande" is Spanish for "big house". Among resident English speakers, there is no consensus on how to pronounce the city’s name. 
Casa Grande was founded in 1879 during the Arizona mining boom, specifically due to the presence of the Southern Pacific Railroad. In January 1880, the community of Terminus, meaning "end-of-the-line," was established despite consisting of just five residents and three buildings. In September 1880, railroad executives renamed the settlement Casa Grande, after the Hohokam ruins at the nearby Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. Casa Grande grew slowly, and suffered several setbacks both in 1886 and 1893, when fires ravaged the town, destroying all wooden housing structures within it. When the mining boom slowed in the 1890s, the town was nearly abandoned, but with the advent of agriculture, the town remained alive and well, and was eventually incorporated in 1915.
According to historian David Leighton, during World War II, from 1942 to 1945, a Japanese-American relocation camp was set up outside of Casa Grande, known as the Gila River War Relocation Center. Two notable people that were interned there were future actor Pat Morita and baseball player Kenichi Zenimura, who constructed a baseball field and set up a league in the relocation camp.
Cheap CDL Training Casa Grande AZ
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered 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 Cheap CDL Training. However, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may 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 choose an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Casa Grande AZ.
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