How to Decide on a Trucking School near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Lake Havasu City AZ. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Lake Havasu City home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Arizona and within the USA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Lake Havasu City AZ, we will address Class A and Class 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 short summaries of 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. 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 required to drive 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. A few 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 may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Lake Havasu City AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are some additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Lake Havasu City AZ truck driver schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, 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 certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated 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 Lake Havasu City AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arizona licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective 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 teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Lake Havasu City AZ schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the Lake Havasu City AZ school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Lake Havasu City 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 Lake Havasu City AZ truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are considering 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 trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, ask if the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Lake Havasu City AZ school you choose 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 prepared to dedicate 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 Provided? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new career in Lake Havasu City AZ. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed in Lake Havasu City AZ.
Why Did You Want to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must organize some approaches about how you want to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Trucking School Lake Havasu City AZ
Picking the ideal trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even 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 firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Lake Havasu City AZ.
A Bit About Lake Havasu City Arizona
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Lake Havasu City is a city in Mohave County, Arizona, United States. According to 2010 census, the population of the town is 52,527 people. It is served by Lake Havasu City Airport. Lake Havasu City is geographically isolated from the other cities in Mohave County and is the southernmost community of the Las Vegas–Henderson, NV–AZ combined statistical area.
The community first started as an Army Air Corps rest camp, called "Site Six," during World War II on the shores of Lake Havasu. In 1958, American businessman Robert P. McCulloch purchased 3,353 acres (13.57 km2) of property on the east side of the lake along Pittsburgh Point, the peninsula that eventually would be transformed into "the Island."
After four years of planning, McCulloch Properties acquired another 13,000 acres of federal land in the surrounding area. Lake Havasu City was established on September 30, 1963, by a resolution of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors as the Lake Havasu Irrigation and Drainage District, making it a legal entity. (The act is referenced in resolution #63-12-1.) The city was incorporated in 1978.
London Bridge crosses a narrow channel that leads from Lake Havasu (a segment of the Colorado River) to Thompson Bay (also on the river). Hoping to attract tourists and prospective buyers of residential lots, McCulloch bought it for US$2.5 million from the City of London when the bridge was replaced in 1968. The bridge was disassembled on contract with Sundt Construction, Tucson, AZ, and the marked stones were shipped to Lake Havasu City and reassembled by Sundt for another US$7 million. The construction took three years to complete.
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