How to Choose the Right Trucking School near Paradise Valley Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Paradise Valley AZ. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Paradise Valley residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Paradise Valley AZ, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply 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 highlight Class A and 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). Below are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Paradise Valley AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are a few more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Paradise Valley AZ area are accredited due to the demanding 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 several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated 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 Paradise Valley AZ schools had to begin 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 relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts 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 researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Paradise Valley AZ schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will provide lots of 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Paradise Valley AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified 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 having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Paradise Valley AZ schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Paradise Valley AZ school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote 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 obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement 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 placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Paradise Valley AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Paradise Valley AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Paradise Valley AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Paradise Valley Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Paradise Valley, Arizona
Paradise Valley is a small, affluent town in Maricopa County, Arizona. It is the wealthiest municipality in Arizona. The town is known for its luxury golf courses, shopping, real estate, and restaurant scene. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 12,820. Despite the town's relatively small area and population compared to other municipalities in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Paradise Valley is home to eight full-service resorts, making it one of Arizona's premier tourist destinations. It is also known for expensive real estate.
It should not be confused with Paradise Valley Village, an official municipal designation, in northeast Phoenix. For instance, Paradise Valley Community College, Paradise Valley High School, Paradise Valley Hospital, Paradise Valley Mall, and Paradise Valley Golf Course are all located several miles to the north of the town, in Phoenix. The town's name along with all the other various entities bearing the same name comes from the expansive area known as Paradise Valley, that spreads from north of the Phoenix Mountains to Cave Creek and Carefree on the north and the McDowell Mountains to the east.
The Paradise Valley Unified School District is one of the largest in the state, though like many other institutions with the name Paradise Valley, it refers to the Phoenix village, and not to the town.
Class A License Training Paradise Valley AZ
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation 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 many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class A License Training. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to think about 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 enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Paradise Valley AZ.
Keep On Trucking in These Other Arizona Locations