How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Sedona Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Sedona AZ. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Sedona residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, 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 target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in Arizona and within the USA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 Sedona AZ, we will address Class A and Class 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). Below are short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 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 needed 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 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 drive certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Sedona AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Sedona AZ trucking schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Sedona AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Arizona licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering 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 discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Sedona AZ schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the Sedona AZ school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide sufficient 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs 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. Get in touch with the Sedona AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from certain Sedona AZ truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, find out if the Sedona AZ schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Sedona 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 certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession in Sedona AZ. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted in Sedona AZ.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Trucker?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What made you select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a trucking operator, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Trucking School Sedona AZ
Picking the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn 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. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Sedona AZ.
A Bit About Sedona Arizona
Sedona /sɪˈdoʊnə/ is a city that straddles the county line between Coconino and Yavapai counties in the northern Verde Valley region of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, its population was 10,031.
Sedona's main attraction is its array of red sandstone formations. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The red rocks form a popular backdrop for many activities, ranging from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails.
Sedona was named after Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly (1877–1950), the wife of Theodore Carlton Schnebly, the city's first postmaster, who was celebrated for her hospitality and industriousness. Her mother, Amanda Miller, claimed to have made the name up because "it sounded pretty".
The first documented human presence in Sedona area dates to between 11,500 and 9000 B.C. It was not until 1995 that a Clovis projectile point discovered in Honanki revealed the presence of the Paleo-Indians, who were big-game hunters. Around 9000 B.C., the pre-historic Archaic people appeared in the Verde Valley. These were hunter-gatherers and their presence in the area was longer than in other areas of the Southwest, most likely because of the ecological diversity and large amount of resources. They left by 300 A.D. There is an assortment of rock art left by the Archaic people in places near Sedona such as Palatki and Honanki.
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