How to Pick a Truck Driver School near New River Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near New River AZ. Perhaps 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 offers excellent income and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your New River residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in Arizona and within the United States, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school near New River AZ, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required 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 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the New River AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many New River AZ truck driver schools are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, 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. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of New River AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment 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 firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of New River AZ schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the New River AZ school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good 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 New River AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of New River AZ truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the New River AZ schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the New River AZ school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career in New River AZ. Confirm that the schools you are looking at 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 firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed in New River AZ.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask truck driving prospects is "What drove you to decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a truck driver, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must organize several strategies about how you want to answer them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driver School New River AZ
Picking the right trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation 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 many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in New River AZ.
A Bit About New River Arizona
New River, Arizona
New River is named after the seasonal wash of the same name, part of the Agua Fria River system which drains into the Salt River. It was founded by Lord Darrell Duppa in 1868 as a stagecoach stop. For many years it was the terminus of the old Black Canyon Highway (now Interstate 17). The pavement ended in New River and continued as a dirt road to the city of Prescott.
New River is located at 33°52′9″N 112°5′9″W / 33.86917°N 112.08583°W / 33.86917; -112.08583 (33.869149, −112.085759). It is bordered by the Tonto National Forest to the north, Cave Creek to the east, Phoenix to the south, and Anthem to the west. The CDP includes the area known as Desert Hills.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 70.8 square miles (183 km2), of which, 70.8 square miles (183 km2) of it is land and 0.01% is water. It includes both Daisy Mountain and Gavilan Peak.
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,740 people, 3,921 households, and 3,066 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 151.6 people per square mile (58.5/km²). There were 4,514 housing units at an average density of 63.7/sq mi (24.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 95.87% White, 0.42% Black or African American, 0.60% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.25% from other races, and 1.37% from two or more races. 4.85% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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