How to Select a Truck Driving School near Pinetop Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Pinetop AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Pinetop home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Arizona and within the United States, an operator must get 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 choose a truck driving school near Pinetop AZ, we will discuss Class A and 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). Below are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Pinetop AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Pinetop AZ truck driving schools are accredited due to the demanding process and expense 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 several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount 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 course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Pinetop AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Pinetop AZ schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the Pinetop AZ school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish 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 operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Pinetop AZ schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some Pinetop AZ truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the Pinetop AZ schools you are reviewing 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 facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Pinetop AZ school you enroll in provides 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 teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career in Pinetop AZ. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask 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 submitted in Pinetop AZ.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Trucker?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask truck driving candidates is "What made you decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a truck driver, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you would like to address them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Choose the Ideal Trucking School Pinetop AZ
Choosing the right truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money 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 enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Pinetop AZ.
A Bit About Pinetop Arizona
Pinetop–Lakeside is a small town in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. According to 2010 census, the population of the town is 4,282. It was founded in 1984 when the neighboring towns of Pinetop and Lakeside merged.
Pinetop–Lakeside is a popular summer resort and second-home area for Arizona desert residents. In 2002, a large forest fire, the Rodeo-Chediski fire, threatened the town and forced an evacuation. The town is near extensive forests, and in normal times is a popular recreational area.
Pinetop-Lakeside is located at 34°8′31″N 109°57′51″W / 34.14194°N 109.96417°W / 34.14194; -109.96417 (34.141913, -109.964047).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 11.3 square miles (29 km2), of which, 11.3 square miles (29 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.71%) is water.
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