How to Select the Right Truck Driver Classes near Luke Afb Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Luke Afb AZ. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Luke Afb residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That 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 CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Luke Afb AZ, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate 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 may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Luke Afb AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Luke Afb AZ area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Luke Afb AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Luke Afb AZ schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Luke Afb AZ schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up 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 some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Luke Afb AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking 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 accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Luke Afb AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend 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 fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Luke Afb AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Luke Afb AZ area vocational or trade 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 least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
CDL Training Classes Luke Afb Arizona
Selecting the right truck driver school is an important 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 several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Training Classes and wanting information on the topic How To Get CDL Class B License. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need 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 select an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Luke Afb AZ.
Truck On in These Other Arizona Locations
Luke Air Force Base
Luke Air Force Base (IATA: LUF, ICAO: KLUF, FAA LID: LUF) is a United States Air Force base located 7 miles (6.1 nmi; 11 km) west of the central business district of Glendale, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is about 15 miles (13 nmi; 24 km) west of Phoenix, Arizona.
Luke AFB is a major training base of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), training pilots in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. On 31 March 2011 it was announced that the F-35 Lightning II would replace the F-16 as the primary training aircraft at Luke, although the date of deployment of the new aircraft to Luke and reorganization plans were not announced. On 16 July 2013, the Air Force announced that Luke AFB will house a total of 144 F-35A Lightning IIs.
Luke Air Force Base is an active-duty F-16 Fighting Falcon training base with 170 F-16s assigned. The host command at Luke is the 56th Fighter Wing (56 FW), under Air Education and Training Command's 19th Air Force.
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