How to Pick a Trucking School near Fountain Hills Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Fountain Hills AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Fountain Hills home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest 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 operate commercial vehicles legally in Arizona and within the United States, an operator 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 choose a truck driving school near Fountain Hills AZ, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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 brief descriptions of the 2 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 greater 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 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. Some 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Fountain Hills AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are some additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Fountain Hills AZ truck driving schools are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Fountain Hills AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire 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 be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized 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 period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Fountain Hills AZ schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the Fountain Hills AZ school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish lots 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Fountain Hills AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain Fountain Hills AZ truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of 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 surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the Fountain Hills AZ schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Fountain Hills AZ school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career in Fountain Hills AZ. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted in Fountain Hills AZ.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a truck driver, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School Fountain Hills AZ
Picking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need 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 select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Fountain Hills AZ.
A Bit About Fountain Hills Arizona
Fountain Hills, Arizona
Fountain Hills is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. Known for its impressive fountain, once the tallest in the world, it borders on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and Scottsdale, Arizona. The population is 22,489, as of the 2010 census. Between the 1990 and 2000 censuses it was the eighth fastest-growing place among cities and towns in Arizona.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.2 square miles (47.1 km2), of which 18.1 square miles (46.9 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.55%) is water.
To the east of the town is the Verde River, a tributary to the Salt River. Inside the town there are many washes that run through Fountain Hills into the Verde River. Some of these washes include the Ashbrook, Balboa, Legend, and Colony Washes. During times of rain the washes flood with water and can sometimes block roads with their water.
To the southwest and northwest regions of Fountain Hills are the McDowell Mountains, a chain of extinct volcanic mountains. The highest mountains in the range are East End (4,033 ft (1,229 m)) and Thompson Peak (3,910 ft (1,190 m)).
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