How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Mohave Valley Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Mohave Valley AZ. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Mohave Valley home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in Arizona and within the USA, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Mohave Valley AZ, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the 2 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. 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Mohave Valley AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are several additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Mohave Valley AZ truck driver schools are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense 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 several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, 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 program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks 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 operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Mohave Valley AZ schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Mohave Valley AZ schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the Mohave Valley AZ school and talk to 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 ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential 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 become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Mohave Valley AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some Mohave Valley AZ trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the Mohave Valley AZ schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Mohave Valley AZ school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. 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 going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career in Mohave Valley AZ. Confirm 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 companies 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 search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving 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 examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed in Mohave Valley AZ.
Why Did You Want to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask truck driving prospects is "What made you choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a trucker, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare a number of approaches about how you want to address them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Choose the Best Truck Driving School Mohave Valley AZ
Picking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to think about 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 option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Mohave Valley AZ.
A Bit About Mohave Valley Arizona
The Mohave Valley is a valley located mostly on the east shore of the south-flowing Colorado River in northwest Arizona. The valley extends into California's San Bernardino County; the northern side of the valley extends into extreme southeast Clark County, Nevada. The main part of the valley lies in southwest Mohave County, Arizona and is at the intersection of the southeast Mojave and northwest Sonoran deserts.
The valley extends into the three states of California, Arizona and Nevada, and the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation extends into them as well. On the west, the valley borders the Dead Mountains of California which overlook the tri-state intersection point.
Needles on Interstate 40 lies on the southwest margin of the valley overlooking the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge and Topock Marsh. The village of Topock is located at the south end of the valley where the Chemehuevi Mountains of California restrict the Colorado to the narrow Mohave Canyon.
Mohave Valley is a 25-mile (40 km) long, north-south trending valley and up to 10 miles (16 km) wide at some areas. Mohave Valley, Arizona, in the center of the reservation, is at the center point of the valley. Bullhead City is at the northern perimeter of the valley; Needles is on the southwest border of the valley in California. Downstream, and southeast, near the southern valley perimeter is the Topock Marsh in Arizona, and also on the southern perimeter, Interstate 40 in Arizona as it ascends uphill out of the Sacramento Wash, and eventually enters the entire north-south Sacramento Valley which lies on the east, southeast, and partial south of the Black Mountains.
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