How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Mammoth Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Mammoth AZ. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Mammoth home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow 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 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 Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally in Arizona and within the United States, an operator needs to get 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. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Mammoth AZ, we will address Class A and 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). Below are brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Mammoth AZ truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed 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 below are some additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Mammoth AZ trucking schools are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Mammoth AZ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, 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 make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Mammoth AZ schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the Mammoth AZ school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide sufficient 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement 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 can vary among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Mammoth AZ schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from certain Mammoth AZ truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arizona, ask if the Mammoth AZ schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Arizona testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Mammoth AZ school you choose 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 commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career in Mammoth AZ. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are much like 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted in Mammoth AZ.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Trucker?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask truck driving prospects is "What made you select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Right Truck Driving School Mammoth AZ
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. 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 short on cash or financing, you may want to think about 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 enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Mammoth AZ.
A Bit About Mammoth Arizona
In November 2014 Mammoth was the subject of a fictional horror tale on the Reddit subreddit "/r/nosleep", which had a contagious disease wipe out the population. Naive users believed and spread the story, somewhat akin to the 1938 War of the Worlds panic. The town was inundated with phone calls from people trying to ascertain what was happening.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,762 people, 562 households, and 440 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,626.5 people per square mile (629.9/km²). There were 697 housing units at an average density of 643.4 per square mile (249.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 61.92% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 1.53% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 31.90% from other races, and 4.03% from two or more races. 72.99% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 562 households out of which 39.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.7% were non-families. 18.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.14 and the average family size was 3.54.
In the town, the population was spread out with 33.5% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.
More Cities of Interest in Arizona