How to Pick a Truck Driving School near Springerville Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Springerville AZ. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Whatever 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 several variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Springerville residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select 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 commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Arizona and within the USA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes 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 near Springerville AZ, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief 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 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 CDL is needed to operate 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. Some 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 may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Springerville AZ truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example 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 conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Springerville AZ truck driving schools are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get 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 course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Springerville AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance 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 compliance.
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 cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Springerville AZ schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the Springerville AZ school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good 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 real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Springerville AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some Springerville AZ trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the Springerville AZ schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Springerville AZ school you choose 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 willing 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 commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession in Springerville AZ. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? 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. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed in Springerville AZ.
Why Did You Want to Become a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask truck driving applicants is "What compelled you to choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a truck driver, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you want to answer them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Right Truck Driver School Springerville AZ
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the option of driving 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 entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Springerville AZ.
A Bit About Springerville Arizona
Springerville is a town in Apache County, Arizona, United States, within the White Mountains. Its postal ZIP code is 85938. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 1,961.
Springerville sits at an elevation of 6,974 feet (2,126 m) above sea level. Along with its neighbor Eagar, the communities make up the place known as Round Valley which is in the central-eastern part of Arizona close to the New Mexico border.
The town that grew around Henry Springer's trading post was officially given its name on May 10, 1876. Before that time it had gone by names such as Colorado Chiquito, Milligan Settlement, and Valle Redondo (Round Valley).
Outlaw Cowboy Ike Clanton, who was present at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, was shot dead in Springerville on June 1, 1887, by detective Jonas V. Brighton when he resisted arrest on charges of cattle rustling.
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