How to Select a CDL Driving School near Avondale Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Avondale AZ. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Avondale home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams 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 cover 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 CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Arizona and within the United States, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Avondale AZ, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind 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 explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 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 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 need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
Once you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Avondale AZ truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are several additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Avondale AZ truck driver schools are accredited because of the demanding 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 required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Avondale AZ schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arizona licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking 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 discuss more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction 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 be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Avondale AZ schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to check out the Avondale AZ school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will furnish lots 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Avondale AZ schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of Avondale AZ truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. 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.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the Avondale AZ schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other 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 Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Avondale AZ school you enroll in provides 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 teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new career in Avondale AZ. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed in Avondale AZ.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Truck Driver?When preparing to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask truck driving prospects is "What made you choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a truck driver, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Right Truck Driving School Avondale AZ
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Avondale AZ.
A Bit About Avondale Arizona
Avondale, incorporated in 1946, experienced rapid residential and commercial growth in the years since 1980. Once primarily a sparsely populated farming community with many acres of alfalfa and cotton fields, Avondale has transformed into a major bedroom suburb for Phoenix. Several major residential subdivisions and shopping centers have recently been built on former farmland, many adjacent to Interstate 10.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 41.3 square miles (107 km2), of which, 41.3 square miles (107 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.15%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 35,883 people, 10,640 households, and 8,724 families residing in the city. The population density was 869.7 people per square mile (335.8/km²). There were 11,419 housing units at an average density of 276.8 per square mile (106.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 63.27% White, 5.20% Black or African American, 1.28% Native American, 1.89% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 24.32% from other races, and 3.89% from two or more races. 46.23% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 10,640 households out of which 47.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.9% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.0% were non-families. 12.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age. The average household size was 3.36 and the average family size was 3.66.
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