How to Pick the Best Truck Driver Classes near Show Low Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Show Low AZ. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever 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 variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Show Low home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills 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 select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover 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 Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Show Low AZ, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class 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 explanations for the two 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. A few 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Show Low AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Show Low AZ area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. 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 indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Show Low AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional 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 department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized 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 insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Show Low AZ schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Show Low AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Show Low AZ schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking 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 advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Show Low AZ school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing 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 companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Show Low AZ employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Show Low AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
How To Get CDL Class A Show Low Arizona
Choosing the right truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get CDL Class A and wanting information on the topic How To Get A CDL. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Show Low AZ.
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Show Low, Arizona
Show Low is a city in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. It lies on the Mogollon Rim in east central Arizona, at an elevation of 6,345 feet (1,934 m). The city was established in 1870 and incorporated in 1953. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city was 10,660.
The two men were equal partners in a 100,000-acre (400 km2) ranch; however, the partners determined that there was not enough room for both of them in their settlement, and agreed to settle the issue over a game of "Seven Up" (with the winner taking the ranch and the loser leaving).
After the game seemed to have no winner in sight, Clark said, "If you can show low, you win." In response, Cooley turned up the deuce of clubs (the lowest possible card) and replied, "Show low it is."