How to Choose a Trucking School near Clifton Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Clifton AZ. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Clifton residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal method to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge 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 choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally in Arizona and within the USA, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Clifton AZ, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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. 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 may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Clifton AZ truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Clifton AZ trucking schools are accredited because of the stringent 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 obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Clifton AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arizona licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Clifton AZ schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit the Clifton AZ school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Clifton AZ schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of Clifton AZ trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous 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 surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, find out if the Clifton AZ schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Clifton AZ school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession in Clifton AZ. Verify that the schools you are reviewing 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 hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted in Clifton AZ.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What made you pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a trucker, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready some ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the best candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Choose the Right Truck Driving School Clifton AZ
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many 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 big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, 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 our country move as a professional truck driver in Clifton AZ.
A Bit About Clifton Arizona
Clifton is a town in and the county seat of Greenlee County, Arizona, United States, along the San Francisco River. The population of the town was 3,311 at the 2010 census, with a 2017 population estimate of 4,870 by the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity. It was a site of the Arizona copper mine strike of 1983.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 14.8 square miles (38.4 km2), of which 14.6 square miles (37.8 km2) is land and 0.23 square miles (0.6 km2), or 1.46%, is water. Clifton has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh) that closely borders on both the hot desert climate and the cool semi-arid climate. Summers are very hot and sometimes humid, with most rainfall coming from the monsoon between July and October. The wettest year was 2004 with 28.49 inches (723.6 mm) including 6.97 inches (177.0 mm) in August, whilst the driest year with a full record was 1924 with only 4.85 inches (123.2 mm) including a mere 1.98 inches (50.3 mm) between July and October. Winters are mild (though with very cold nights) and dry, with snow only recorded in fourteen years since 1892.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,596 people, 919 households, and 685 families residing in the town. The population density was 174.8 people per square mile (67.5/km²). There were 1,087 housing units at an average density of 73.2 per square mile (28.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 67.10% White, 0.96% Black or African American, 2.27% Native American, 0.04% Asian, 26.73% from other races, and 2.89% from two or more races. 55.86% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 919 households out of which 41.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.3% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.4% were non-families. 22.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.27.
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