How to Choose a CDL Training School near Green Valley Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Green Valley AZ. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Green Valley home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable 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? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Arizona and within the United States, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Green Valley AZ, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Green Valley AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Green Valley AZ truck driving schools are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Green Valley AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following 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 receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding 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 period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Green Valley AZ schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the Green Valley AZ school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will provide lots 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Green Valley AZ schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some Green Valley AZ truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the Green Valley AZ schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Green Valley AZ school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate 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 Placement Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new profession in Green Valley AZ. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable 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 reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed in Green Valley AZ.
Why Did You Want to Be a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What compelled you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a trucker, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare some ideas about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Best CDL School Green Valley AZ
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold 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 obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to think about 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Green Valley AZ.
A Bit About Green Valley Arizona
Green Valley, Arizona
Green Valley is located along the western side of the Santa Cruz River at 31°51′N 111°0′W / 31.850°N 111.000°W / 31.850; -111.000 (31.8556, -111.0001).Continental is to the east of Green Valley, on the other side of the river.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 26.3 square miles (68.0 km²), of which, 26.2 square miles (68.0 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.08%) is water.
Green Valley is twenty miles (32 km) south of Tucson and 40 miles (64 km) north of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Surrounded by copper mines, and near the cycling, hiking and birding areas of the Santa Rita Mountains, Green Valley is an unincorporated retirement community composed of 59 Homeowner Associations.
Green Valley has a borderline hot semi-arid/hot desert climate (Köppen BSh/BWh) with three seasons: a warm to mild winter with chilly nights from October to March, a hot, extremely dry summer season from April to June, and a hot, relatively humid monsoon season from July to September. Outside monsoon season, rainfall is uniformly scarce, having exceeded 4.0 inches or 100 millimetres only in October 2000 amongst other months. The wettest month on record has been July 1990 with 10.43 inches or 264.9 millimetres, of which 3.22 inches or 81.8 millimetres fell on July 15. The wettest calendar year has been 1993 with 22.00 inches or 558.8 millimetres while the driest since 1988 has been 1997 with 9.90 inches or 251.5 millimetres.
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