How to Pick a Truck Driving School near Buckeye Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Buckeye AZ. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Buckeye residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Arizona and within the USA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Buckeye AZ, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 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 operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Buckeye AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Buckeye AZ trucking schools are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For 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 evaluate the quality of a truck driver 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. Having said that, even the top Buckeye AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following 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 obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially 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 drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Buckeye AZ schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the Buckeye AZ school and speak with 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 quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide plenty of 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Buckeye AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of Buckeye AZ trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some 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 Buckeye AZ schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Buckeye AZ school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession in Buckeye AZ. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out 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 completed in Buckeye AZ.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Trucker?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a trucker, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should ready some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Best Truck Driver School Buckeye AZ
Choosing the right truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Buckeye AZ.
A Bit About Buckeye Arizona
Buckeye is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona and is the westernmost suburb in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The population was 62,582 in 2015. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US; in 2016, it placed seventh.
Early settler Malin M. Jackson developed 10 miles (16 km) of the Buckeye Canal from 1884 to 1886, which he named after his home state of Ohio's moniker, "The Buckeye State". The town was founded in 1888 and originally named "Sidney," after Jackson's home town in Ohio. However, because of the significance of the canal, the town became known as Buckeye. The name was legally changed to Buckeye in 1910. The town was incorporated in 1929, at which time it included 440 acres (180 ha). The town's first mayor was Hugh M. Watson (1956–1958), who founded the Buckeye Valley Bank. Today, Watson Road is the site of the city's commercial center.
In 2013, a video featuring a Verrado High School student who overcame Down's Syndrome to join the school's cheerleading squad, and using the Katy Perry song "Roar", was selected as a finalist in a Good Morning America contest.
In November 2017, media outlets reported that a company associated with billionaire Bill Gates purchased 24,800 acres (100 km2) between Buckeye and Tonopah for $80 million. Gates's company plans to create a "smart city" called Belmont on the site.
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