How to Pick the Best Truck Driving Classes near Maricopa Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Maricopa AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Maricopa residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills 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 select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Maricopa AZ, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on 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). Below are short summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 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. 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 might also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Maricopa AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional 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 trucking schools in the Maricopa AZ area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered 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 standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Maricopa AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting 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 skillfully takes time. The majority of Maricopa AZ schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary among 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 Maricopa AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Maricopa AZ schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Maricopa AZ school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Maricopa AZ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Maricopa 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Schools For Truckers Maricopa Arizona
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Schools For Truckers and wanting information on the topic Trucking Jobs Training. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might 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 driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Maricopa AZ.
Truck On in These Other Arizona Locations
Maricopa is a city in the Gila River Valley in Arizona. With an estimated 50,024 residents as of 2018, Maricopa is the second most populous incorporated city in Pinal County and eighteenth most populous in Arizona. Maricopa forms part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Maricopa has had three locations over the years: Maricopa Wells, Maricopaville and Maricopa Junction; the latter gradually became known as Maricopa. It started as an oasis around a series of watering holes eight miles north of present-day Maricopa, and about a mile west of Pima Butte. European-American traders and travelers called it Maricopa Wells. Several of Arizona’s rivers, the Gila, Santa Cruz, Vekol and Santa Rosa provided this oasis in the desert with an ample supply of water during this period of time.
During the late 1800s, Maricopa Wells was one of the most important relay stations along the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and the later more famous Butterfield Overland Mail Route. Although little remains of this once bustling community, it played an important part in the progress and development of the Southwest. It was one of the best-known spots in Arizona during this period of time because it had a reliable source of water, and offered an abundant supply of food. The peaceful Pima and Maricopa farmers who lived and farmed nearby sold supplies to travelers and migrants.
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