How to Decide on a CDL Driving School near Cochise Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Cochise AZ. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Cochise home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally in Arizona and within the USA, an operator must get 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 Cochise AZ, we will highlight Class A and Class 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 short summaries 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 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 operate 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. Some 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Cochise AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are some additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Cochise AZ truck driving schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For 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 satisfy 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 operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Cochise AZ schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. Also, 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 attention 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 insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Cochise AZ schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the Cochise AZ school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will provide sufficient 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Cochise AZ schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain Cochise AZ truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the Cochise AZ schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Cochise AZ school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career in Cochise AZ. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed in Cochise AZ.
Why Did You Want to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a truck driver, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Select the Best Trucking School Cochise AZ
Selecting the right trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation 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 a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to consider 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Cochise AZ.
A Bit About Cochise Arizona
Cochise County, Arizona
Cochise County was created on February 1, 1881, out of the eastern portion of Pima County. It took its name from the legendary Chiricahua Apache war chief Cochise. The county seat was Tombstone until 1929 when it moved to Bisbee. Notable men who once held the position of County Sheriff were Johnny Behan, who served as the first sheriff of the new county, and who was one of the main characters during the events leading to and following the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Later, in 1886, Texas John Slaughter became sheriff. Lawman Jeff Milton and lawman/outlaw Burt Alvord both served as deputies under Slaughter.
A syndicated television series which aired from 1956 to 1958, Sheriff of Cochise starring John Bromfield, was filmed in Bisbee. The Jimmy Stewart movie Broken Arrow and subsequent television show of the same name starring John Lupton, which also aired from 1956 to 1958, took place (but was not filmed) in Cochise County.
Beginning in the late 1950s, the small community of Miracle Valley was the site of a series of bible colleges and similar religious organizations, founded by television evangelist A. A. Allen. In 1982, Miracle Valley and neighboring Palominas were the site of a series of escalating conflicts between a newly arrived religious community and the county sheriff and deputies that culminated in the Miracle Valley shootout.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 6,219 square miles (16,110 km2), of which 6,166 square miles (15,970 km2) is land and 53 square miles (140 km2) (0.9%) is water. Cochise County is close to the size of the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.
More Cities of Interest in Arizona