How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Lake Montezuma Arizona
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Lake Montezuma AZ. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Lake Montezuma home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on 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 review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in Arizona and within the United States, a driver 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 choose a truck driver school near Lake Montezuma AZ, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Lake Montezuma AZ trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are several more things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Lake Montezuma AZ trucking schools are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Lake Montezuma AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality 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 department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next 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 instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Lake Montezuma AZ schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the Lake Montezuma AZ school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide lots of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs 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. Check with the Lake Montezuma AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain Lake Montezuma AZ trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with a wide range of 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 be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arizona, find out if the Lake Montezuma AZ schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Lake Montezuma AZ school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. 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 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career in Lake Montezuma AZ. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing 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 referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are similar 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 aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted in Lake Montezuma AZ.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Trucker?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should ready a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Ideal Trucking School Lake Montezuma AZ
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. 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 short on cash or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases 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 firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Lake Montezuma AZ.
A Bit About Lake Montezuma Arizona
Lake Montezuma, Arizona
Lake Montezuma is a census-designated place (CDP) in Yavapai County in the U.S. state of Arizona. The population was 3,344 at the 2000 census. The CDP includes the communities of Rimrock and McGuireville. Located along Interstate 17, it is 20 miles (32 km) south of Sedona and 8 miles (13 km) north of Camp Verde in central Arizona's Verde Valley.
The community was originally known as Beaver Creek as ranchers and farmers settled along the banks of the creek named for the prolific numbers of beavers found there.
Wales Arnold, the first settler along Beaver Creek, came to Beaver Creek in 1870 and lived at what became known as The Montezuma Well Ranch. Arnold, who came to Arizona as a member of the California Column during the Civil War ultimately became the sutler or civilian merchant of the firm Arnold and Bowers at Camp Lincoln following his discharge from the Army at Fort Whipple August 29, 1864. His partner in this enterprise was George Bowers who was killed by Indians near the head of Copper Canyon while en route to Prescott alongside a young soldier named Robert Nix. Arnold held several hay contracts with the Army at Camp Lincoln (renamed Fort Verde in 1868) and grew the first alfalfa known to be grown in the Verde Valley. The Montezuma Well Ranch served as a way station where mail riders changed horses when the mail began to be carried from Fort Whipple to Fort Wingate.
By 1879 there were several children along Beaver Creek and what became Beaver Creek School started when Ed Mulholland began teaching school there then.
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