How to Find a CDL Training School near Grand Canyon Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Grand Canyon AZ. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Grand Canyon residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Arizona and within the United States, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Grand Canyon AZ, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. A few 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 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. 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 specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Grand Canyon AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Grand Canyon AZ truck driving schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Grand Canyon AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal attention 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Grand Canyon AZ schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the Grand Canyon AZ school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide plenty 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Grand Canyon AZ schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of Grand Canyon AZ truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the Grand Canyon AZ schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Grand Canyon AZ school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared 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 commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession in Grand Canyon AZ. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted in Grand Canyon AZ.
Why Did You Want to Be a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask truck driving applicants is "What compelled you to pick trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a trucker, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare several ideas about how you want to answer them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Right Truck Driving School Grand Canyon AZ
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an essential 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 mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Grand Canyon AZ.
A Bit About Grand Canyon Arizona
The Grand Canyon (Hopi: Ongtupqa;Yavapai: Wi:kaʼi:la, Navajo: Tsékooh Hatsoh, Spanish: Gran Cañón) is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, United States. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters).
The canyon and adjacent rim are contained within Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, the Hualapai Indian Reservation, the Havasupai Indian Reservation and the Navajo Nation. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.
Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While some aspects about the history of incision of the canyon are debated by geologists, several recent studies support the hypothesis that the Colorado River established its course through the area about 5 to 6 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River has driven the down-cutting of the tributaries and retreat of the cliffs, simultaneously deepening and widening the canyon.
For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans, who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site, and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540.
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