How to Find the Right Trucker School near Ash Fork Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Ash Fork AZ. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Ash Fork residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on 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 discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Ash Fork AZ, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver 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 as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief descriptions of the 2 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. 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Ash Fork AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Ash Fork AZ area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Ash Fork AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Ash Fork AZ schools provide training courses 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 Instructors? As already stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. 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 ability to train them.
Enough 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 essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Ash Fork AZ schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Ash Fork AZ schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Ash Fork AZ school you choose offers 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 teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Ash Fork AZ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Ash Fork AZ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 Ash Fork AZ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Ash Fork Arizona area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Ash Fork, Arizona
Geologic places of interest include the Cathedral Caves which are approximately 10 miles (16 km) west of town off Arizona Road, and Dante's Descent, a 275-foot (84 m) deep sinkhole also known as "Devil's Hole", which is approximately five miles northwest of Ash Fork, off of Crookton Road. Unfortunately, after closure by the state, Dante's Descent cannot legally be visited by the public. Pictorial and historic documentation of the natural attraction may be found at the Ash Fork Library.
Ash Fork lies in close proximity to Kaibab National Forest and Coconino National Forest, and international attractions such as the Grand Canyon are approximately an hour's drive away using major roads. Service roads allow swifter access to back areas of Grand Canyon National Park, but may not be open to public thoroughfare.
Approximately 15 miles (24 km) to the north of Ash Fork is Beale Road, which has the distinction of being the first federally funded highway. The internationally renowned U.S. Route 66 also runs directly through the town. Notably, the longest original, uninterrupted stretch of Route 66 still in existence (approximately 9.6 miles (15.4 km) long) can be found between Ash Fork, Arizona, and Seligman, Arizona, beginning just beyond Ash Fork at Crookton Road. The surrounding geographical area and settlements served as inspiration for the 2006 Pixar film Cars.
Professional Truck Driving School Ash Fork AZ
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Professional Truck Driving School. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Ash Fork AZ.
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