How to Enroll in the Best Truck Driving School near Woodruff Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Woodruff AZ. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive 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 choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Woodruff home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge 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 choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest 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 Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Woodruff AZ, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight 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 descriptions of the two 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 more 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 required 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Woodruff AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are a few more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Woodruff AZ area are accredited due to 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively 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 best of Woodruff AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 watch 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 skillfully takes time. The majority of Woodruff AZ schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Woodruff AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Woodruff AZ schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Woodruff AZ school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out 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 Woodruff AZ employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Woodruff AZ area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Trucking Driving Schools Woodruff Arizona
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Trucking Driving Schools and wanting information on the topic Commercial Drivers License Schools. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Woodruff AZ.
Truck On in These Other Arizona Locations
Jeff Woodruff (born February 22, 1957) is an American football coach, currently the head coach at Andress High School in El Paso, Texas. He was the head coach at Eastern Michigan University, the assistant head coach and tight ends coach at the University of Texas at El Paso, and the head coach of Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, California.
A quarterback and punter at Kent State University, Woodruff began his coaching career at his alma mater as a graduate assistant and tight ends coach in 1979. He joined the University of Washington staff in Seattle as a graduate assistant under head coach Don James in 1980, then moved to the University of Nevada in 1983 for a season as the secondary coach and recruiting coordinator. Woodruff returned to the UW staff in 1984 as quarterbacks coach as the Huskies won the Orange Bowl; the undefeated 1991 team won a second consecutive Rose Bowl and shared the national title. He succeeded Keith Gilbertson as the Huskies' offensive coordinator in 1992 under James and continued in 1993 under new head coach Jim Lambright.
After leaving the Washington program in January 1994, Woodruff moved to Arizona and was the head coach at Cholla High School in Tucson, then joined the University of Arizona staff as an assistant in 1998 under head coach Dick Tomey.