How to Find the Right Trucking Classes near Casa Grande Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Casa Grande AZ. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Casa Grande residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest 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 Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Casa Grande AZ, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions 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. A few of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Casa Grande AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As previously 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 reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Casa Grande 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 certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 meet the very high benchmarks 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 rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Casa Grande AZ schools had to start 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 pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Casa Grande AZ schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish ample 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 operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Casa Grande AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some trucking 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 instead of having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Casa Grande AZ schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Casa Grande AZ school you choose 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 commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have acquired 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 looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Casa Grande AZ employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Casa Grande AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
How To Get A Class A Drivers License Casa Grande Arizona
Picking the right trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge 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 How To Get A Class A Drivers License and wanting information on the topic How To Choose A Truck Driving School. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving 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 choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Casa Grande AZ.
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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.
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