How to Decide on a CDL Driving School near Colorado City Arizona
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Colorado City AZ. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Colorado City residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Arizona and within the USA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify 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 Colorado City 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 brief descriptions 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 drive 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 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Colorado City AZ trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several more things 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 ? Very few Colorado City AZ truck driver schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Colorado City AZ schools had to start 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 graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arizona licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arizona and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Colorado City AZ schools offer training courses 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 Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the Colorado City AZ school and talk to the instructors face to face. 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 ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish plenty of 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Colorado City AZ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain Colorado City AZ truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive 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 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 giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get 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.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arizona, find out if the Colorado City AZ schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Arizona testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Colorado City AZ school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career in Colorado City AZ. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted in Colorado City AZ.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with 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 write down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Best CDL School Colorado City AZ
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Colorado City AZ.
A Bit About Colorado City Arizona
Colorado City, Arizona
Colorado City is a town in Mohave County, Arizona, United States, and is located in a region known as the Arizona Strip. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 4,821. At least three Mormon fundamentalist sects are said to have been based there.
Colorado City, formerly known as Short Creek (or the Short Creek Community), was founded in 1913 by members of the Council of Friends, a breakaway group from the Salt Lake City-based The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The Council of Friends membership desired a remote location where they could practice plural marriage, which had been publicly abandoned by the LDS Church in 1890. On July 26, 1953, Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle sent troops into the settlement to stop polygamy in what became known as the Short Creek raid. The two-year legal battle that followed became a public relations disaster that damaged Pyle's political career and set a hands-off tone toward the town in Arizona for the next 50 years.
After the death of Joseph W. Musser, the community split into two groups: the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stayed in Short Creek, while the Apostolic United Brethren relocated to Bluffdale, Utah. The FLDS changed the name of the community to Colorado City (on the Arizona side of the border) and Hildale (on the Utah side) to eliminate any ties to the Short Creek raids.
In January 2004, the local FLDS fundamentalist leader, Warren Jeffs, expelled a group of 20 men, including the mayor, and gave their wives and children to other men. Jeffs, now a convicted sexual predator, stated he was acting on the orders of God, while the men expelled claimed they were penalized for disagreeing with Jeffs. Observers stated[by whom?] that this was the most severe split to date within the community other than the split between Colorado City and Centennial Park. According to the Utah attorney general's office, this was not the first time Jeffs was accused of expelling men from the community; as many as 400 young men are estimated to have been expelled by Jeffs from 2001–2006. Most were removed for failing to follow Jeffs' rules, or for dating women without his permission. Many of these expelled men and boys were very naïve and sheltered, often wound up homeless in nearby towns such as Hurricane, Utah and St. George, Utah. Jeffs was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list and eventually arrested on August 28, 2006.
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