How to Decide on the Best Truck Driving School near Wickenburg Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Wickenburg AZ. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Wickenburg residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Wickenburg AZ, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive 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 drivers may be qualified to operate 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 need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Wickenburg AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Wickenburg AZ area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Wickenburg AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Wickenburg AZ schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained 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 a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent 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 essential training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Wickenburg AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Wickenburg AZ schools you are contemplating are captive or independent 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 graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Wickenburg AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Wickenburg AZ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Wickenburg AZ area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Get Class A CDL Wickenburg Arizona
Picking the right trucking school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local 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 critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Get Class A CDL and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving Training Schools. However, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Wickenburg AZ.
Truck On in These Other Arizona Locations
The Wickenburg area with much of the Southwest became part of the United States by the 1848 treaty that ended the Mexican–American War. The first extensive survey was conducted by Gila Rangers who were pursuing hostile Indians who had raided the Butterfield Overland Mail route and attacked miners at Gila City.
In 1862, a gold strike on the Colorado River near present-day Yuma brought American prospectors, who searched for minerals throughout central Arizona. Many of the geographic landmarks now bear the names of these pioneers, including the Weaver Mountains, named after mountain man Pauline Weaver, and Peeples Valley, named after a settler.
Ranchers and farmers soon built homes along the fertile plain of the Hassayampa River. Together with the miners, they founded the town of Wickenburg in 1863. Wickenburg was also the home of Jack Swilling, who prospected in the Salt River Valley in 1867. Swilling conducted irrigation efforts in that area and helped ground the city of Phoenix, Arizona. Wickenburg was supplied from the Colorado River, by steamboat, then over the La Paz - Wikenburg Road by wagons and pack mules. Wickenburg in turn became a supply point for the mines and army posts in the interior of Arizona Territory.