How to Enroll in the Right Trucker School near El Mirage Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near El Mirage AZ. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your El Mirage home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and El Mirage AZ, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify 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 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 short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 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 CDL is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the El Mirage AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the El Mirage AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure 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. Having said that, even the best of El Mirage AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Arizona licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction 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 drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of El Mirage AZ schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish ample 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the El Mirage AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the El Mirage AZ schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the El Mirage AZ school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out 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 hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many El Mirage AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other El Mirage AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
CDL Truck Training El Mirage Arizona
Selecting the right trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation 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 vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Truck Training and wanting information on the topic CDL A Training. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to look into 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 choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in El Mirage AZ.
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El Mirage, Arizona
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,609 people, 2,121 households, and 1,737 families residing in the city. The population density was 786.8 people per square mile (303.8/km²). There were 3,162 housing units at an average density of 326.9 per square mile (126.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.26% White, 3.29% Black or African American, 0.85% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 26.18% from other races, and 2.98% from two or more races. 66.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,121 households out of which 48.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.1% were non-families. 13.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.59 and the average family size was 3.87.
In the city, the population was spread out with 36.8% under the age of 18, 14.1% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 13.8% from 45 to 64, and 6.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.0 males.
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