How to Decide on a CDL Training School near Luke Afb Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Luke Afb AZ. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Luke Afb residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select 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 discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Arizona and within the USA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Luke Afb AZ, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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 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. 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Luke Afb AZ truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several more points that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Luke Afb AZ truck driver schools are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks 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 business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Luke Afb AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior 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 trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Luke Afb AZ schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the Luke Afb AZ school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish lots of 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Luke Afb AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some Luke Afb AZ trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the Luke Afb AZ schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Luke Afb AZ school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession in Luke Afb AZ. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out 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 might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask 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 need to be completed in Luke Afb AZ.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a trucking operator, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you should ready a number of strategies about how you want to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Choose the Right CDL School Luke Afb AZ
Selecting the right truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Luke Afb AZ.
A Bit About Luke Afb Arizona
Luke Air Force Base
Luke Air Force Base (IATA: LUF, ICAO: KLUF, FAA LID: LUF) is a United States Air Force base located seven miles (11 km) west of the central business district of Glendale, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is also about 15 miles (24 km) west of Phoenix, Arizona.
Luke AFB is a major training base of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), training pilots in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. On 31 March 2011 it was announced that the F-35 Lightning II would replace the F-16 as the primary training aircraft at Luke, although the date of deployment of the new aircraft to Luke and reorganization plans were not announced. On 16 July 2013, the Air Force announced that Luke AFB will house a total of 144 F-35A Lightning IIs.
It is a designated Superfund site due to a number of soil and groundwater contaminants.
Luke Air Force Base is an active-duty F-16 Fighting Falcon training base with 170 F-16s assigned. The host command at Luke is the 56th Fighter Wing (56 FW), under Air Education and Training Command's 19th Air Force.
More Cities of Interest in Arizona