How to Choose the Right Trucking School near Maricopa Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Maricopa AZ. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Maricopa residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Maricopa AZ, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 operate 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. Some 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Maricopa AZ truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are some more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Maricopa AZ area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Maricopa AZ schools had to begin 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 pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. 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 instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Maricopa AZ schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to visit 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 happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide lots 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 real 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 between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Maricopa AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous 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 choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Maricopa AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there 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 permitted in Arizona, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Maricopa AZ school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Maricopa AZ employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Maricopa AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Maricopa AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Maricopa Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Maricopa is a city in the Gila River Valley in Arizona. With an estimated 51,977 residents as of 2018, Maricopa is the second most populous incorporated city in Pinal County and eighteenth most populous in Arizona. Maricopa forms part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Maricopa has had three locations over the years: Maricopa Wells, Maricopaville and Maricopa Junction; the latter gradually became known as Maricopa. It started as an oasis around a series of watering holes eight miles north of present-day Maricopa, and about a mile west of Pima Butte. European-American traders and travelers called it Maricopa Wells. Several of Arizona’s rivers, the Gila, Santa Cruz, Vekol and Santa Rosa provided this oasis in the desert with an ample supply of water during this period of time.
During the late 1800s, Maricopa Wells was one of the most important relay stations along the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and the later more famous Butterfield Overland Mail Route. Although little remains of this once bustling community, it played an important part in the progress and development of the Southwest. It was one of the best-known spots in Arizona during this period of time because it had a reliable source of water, and offered an abundant supply of food. The peaceful Pima and Maricopa farmers who lived and farmed nearby sold supplies to travelers and migrants.
Truck Driving Programs Maricopa AZ
Selecting the right trucking school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available 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 Truck Driving Programs. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower 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 several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Maricopa AZ.
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