How to Pick the Right Trucker School near Apache Junction Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Apache Junction AZ. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Apache Junction home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Apache Junction AZ, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class 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 short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. Some 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 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. 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 drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Apache Junction AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Apache Junction AZ area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Apache Junction AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Apache Junction AZ schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide lots of driving time to its students. After all, 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 essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. 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 furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Apache Junction AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to 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 restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Apache Junction AZ schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Apache Junction AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing 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 employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Apache Junction AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Apache Junction 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Apache Junction AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Apache Junction Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Apache Junction, Arizona
Apache Junction is a city in Maricopa and Pinal counties in the state of Arizona. According to the 2018 U.S. Census estimates, the population of the city was 41,739, most of whom lived in Pinal County.
Apache Junction is located at an intersection on an unpaved stagecoach trail to the nearby Superstition Mountains. Apache Junction became a historical landmark and scenic byway that was opened to the public in 1922, and is currently part of a 120 mile long “circle trail” that begins and ends in Apache Junction. Although it has been used by public since 1922, it was not added to the national historic register until 1978 along with highway 60. https://www.ajpl.org/apache-junction-history/
The town is bounded by the Superstition Mountains (a federal wilderness area and home of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine) on the east, the Goldfield Mountains with the Bulldog Recreation Area on the north and the city of Mesa on the west. Goldfield Ghost Town, a tourist location preserved from former prospecting days, lies near the western face of Superstition Mountain just off Highway 88 (Apache Trail). It is located just southwest of the site of the ghost town of Goldfield, Arizona.
Get My CDL Apache Junction AZ
Picking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many 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 Get My CDL. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving 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 decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Apache Junction AZ.
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