We may not consciously realize this but truck is a very essential component in our everyday life. Think about, every single commodity that we use, be it toothpaste, shampoo, cosmetics, clothes we wear, food we eat, furniture we use, all of these things and more where do we get them from? Yeah you guessed right, the stores! But if you think more deeply you will realize all these goods need to be transported from the manufacturing plants to the stores; sometimes they directly get transported to our doorstep from the factory. And how is this made possible? Trucks- these commercial vehicles of various types are the reasons in making our lives so smoother and simpler.
Not just our everyday lives, the economy is growing so fast because of this form of transportation. Because as these transports the goods produced to various parts across the country and abroad, the nation is able to sell more, grow more and produce more. Thus there is an ever-growing demand for qualified CDL approved drivers in our country. This profession is quite attractive for those who want to pursue a career where jobs are readily available. Here one has his own independence of work space and can get to travel a lot. Only a short period of training is required, after that you can easily enter this well-paid industry. If you want to become a truck driver having CDL or Commercial Driver’s License, you need to select a school, get enrolled and complete a 3-4 weeks training program and then sit for the CDL Class A exam. After passing this exam, one can easily become a truck driver in Arizona with a good pay.
In order to drive commercial vehicles in Arizona, a driver needs to have an Arizona CDL.
There are 4 categories of CDL. They are:
• CLASS A – This license is only applicable for “combination” vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of more than 26,000 pounds. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. Any driver with a Class A CDL (plus any other appropriate certification) can also operate all vehicles included in Class B, C, and D (stated below).
• CLASS B – This licensing comprises single or combination vehicles where the GVWR of the single vehicle needs to be more than 26,000 pounds. The vehicle being towed must not exceed 10,000 pounds. Anyone with an Arizona Class B CDL (along with other proper endorsements) can also legally operate all vehicles in Class C or D.
• CLASS C – Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that meets neither the definition of Group A nor Group B is contained in this section. Such vehicles are built for transporting 16 or more passengers including the driver. Sometimes such vehicles are also used for the purpose of transporting Hazardous Materials.
• CLASS D – This licensing allows a driver to have private passengers. Basically these driving licenses are used by chauffeurs.
As mentioned previously, truck drivers in Arizona need to have a Class A Arizona CDL. Another notable requirement is that all the CDL drivers must be aged over 21 years. This is because a Class A CDL holder has more duties than the other drivers. Finally, before applying for a CDL, one should essentially have the following-
- Long medical form from the Department of Transportation (unless medically exempted).
- If not a U.S. citizen, applicant must legally be in permanent status in the United States and domiciled in Arizona.
- Background Check Memo by the Transportation Security Administration if transferring or obtaining a hazardous materials endorsement.
One must pay the fees for their CDL before taking the knowledge tests. After paying the fees for the general knowledge, air brakes, and endorsements if one wishes to continue, he/she will then have three attempts to pass each portion of the exam. One must also have their medical examiners card or DOT medical card before applying.
New or Transfer from another State:
- CDL Class A or B – $25.00
- Class C (must include a P endorsement or HME): $12.50
- Endorsements – $10 for each endorsement you require (hazmat, tanker, doubles/triples or passenger)
- Class A or B: $15
- Class C: $10
- HME: $10 (knowledge test required)
- Class A or B vehicle: $25
- Class C vehicle: $12.50
- Regular passenger or for school buses: $5 (if adding to an existing CDL)
There are a lot of scenarios and factors to consider before choosing a truck driving school in Arizona. It is of utmost importance that each school is studied with time, and they sorted based on what program offerings a school has. Few things to always keep in mind are:
• Cost of CDL Training In Arizona
• School Locations in Arizona
• Time Behind The Wheel
• Instructor-To-Student Ratio
• Job Placement in Arizona
• Quality Of The Instructors
Although pricing should be a consideration when selecting a truck driving school, it should not be the primary concern. Nobody wants to waste a whole lot of money, but it should not be expected that all schools will be of equal standard and pricing. Truck driving schools in close proximity are usually comparable in price with less than a $500 difference between them. If one school is too much different in pricing, suppose a $1000 difference, it should be found out why.
Possibly they are a brand new school and they are attempting to attract students with discount pricing. Maybe they are a well-established, reputable school with great equipment and first-class instructors so hopefully you will be receiving the services that you are paying for. When comparing pricing between various truck driving schools in Arizona, make sure you understand why their pricing is set where it is. Feel free to ask the school representatives to explain any differences between themselves and their competitors.
The School Location - Ironically such a large number of individuals considering turning into a truck driver will pick one truck driving school over another on the grounds that there's a 20 mile distinction in the drive. Well many will choose this career so that they can drive to various places but while selecting a quality school will not be eager to travel even an extra mile! It is a humble request to not make such decisions and focus on the quality of a school not the distance.
Additionally, in the event that you choose to go to a truck driving school outside of Arizona, please check to ensure your CDL will effectively transfer back to Arizona. Each state has its own particular norms. A few states will permit you to transfer your CDL permit by just rounding out some printed material, however others will make you take the composed CDL exams again and some will even make you retake the composed tests and the street test! So do find it out before choosing to get your CDL outside of Arizona.
Time behind the Wheel
Drive time is one standout crucial point while considering a school. Driving time is the time behind the wheel actually driving and does not include simulator time, before-trip inspections, or observation time. It is behind-the-wheel, pushing in the clutch and turning the steering wheel, in-charge of the truck – that’s the real drive time. Because driving time is so expensive for a truck driving school to offer, this will have a serious impact on the price of the school program. It may also affect the quality of the overall CDL training. So this factor needs to be very carefully considered.
Few schools will have several yards (practice lots) going on at once and the instructors walk from yard to yard to check on the students. This sounds good – as you are getting time behind the wheel. But if the teacher is monitoring too many students at once you may be making the same mistakes over and over again without realizing your mistake and moreover not knowing how to correct yourself. Logically speaking, you are making your mistakes into habits, and that’s not good.
When a trainee is behind the wheel the teacher should be monitoring the trainee full time and make constant suggestions. Instructors should be there to correct students when they make mistakes. A lot can be said about teaching oneself, but since you are paying for a teacher, so that teacher’s job is to be there while you’re trying to learn and provide all sorts of support.
Truck Driving Job Placement in Arizona
Often students are surprised to find out that truck driving schools have job placement assistance. Many assume that only the schools owned and operated by trucking companies can have placement, but this isn’t the case. Placement is a very important part of a truck driving school’s program. The actual reason behind students attending school in the first place is to find a new job, and if a school cannot or will not place students with trucking companies that hire inexperienced drivers in Arizona then something isn’t right.
Quality of the Instructors
The last factor is the most difficult to analyze – the quality of the teachers. A good truck driving school will have instructors who are caring, knowledgeable, experienced and capable of teaching. Experience is crucial when it comes to understanding life on the road and knowing the finer points of handling a rig. Obviously, the more experienced a person is, the better. But personality often play an important role in the quality of a CDL trainer. Instructors should enjoy teaching and feel good when their students become successful truck drivers. Teaching just for a paycheck cannot be an ideal motivation here. If possible, talk with two or three of the teachers while you're there for a campus visit, and talk with a portion of the present students. Find out whether the instructors truly make the most of their occupations and think about instructing. They ought to be persistent and supportive with their students.
Instructors should have a considerable amount of knowledge regarding the relevant industry; they should know everything about new regulations, changes and trends. A school should require its instructors to always stay updated with the industry and to share their experiences and knowledge with the students.
All about the Pre-hire Letters
When you're thinking about becoming a truck driver, you would like strong evidence that companies will recruit you after you have finished your preparation and have your CDL exam passed. You wouldn't have any desire to move on from truck driving school just to discover no one will employ you. Getting pre-hire letters is an approach to check that companies are willing to hire you before you even focus on getting your CDL. Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to show an interest of recruiting them. The trucking companies are stating in writing that the student, or potential CDL driver, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.
The general population of drivers who get a pre-hire letter are individuals who meet the organization's base hiring prerequisites, yet it is not a final employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation. The orientation itself is a pre-essential process of recruitment. The trucking organizations are hoping to contract the greatest number of strong applicants as they can. They invite the potential drivers to orientation and from there they chose to select the popular and best drivers they like. So clearly again, a pre-hire letter is not a final confirmation of a job. So one needs to be aware before completing a CDL exam of this risk factor of not immediately getting a confirmed job.
Salary and Working Conditions for Truckers
Arizona provides with a very good salary range for CDL truck drivers. The annual average salary of a truck driver in Arizona is $41,500, which is higher than the national annual average of $38,200. The wide range of salaries in Arizona varies from $29,200 to $58,700 per year (O*Net, 2012). Pay rates depend on upon how much experience you have and to what extent you are out on the road. Drivers who invest more energy far from home might be remunerated with higher pay, and those with more experience may likewise earn a salary on the higher end of the pay scale.
Truck drivers in Arizona can work for a variety of companies, including interstate driving companies, goods transportation companies and in-state truck driving firms. The biggest truck driver employers in Arizona include CRST Expedited in Tucson, C. R. England, Towne Air Freight in Green Valley and Centerline in Phoenix. Working conditions differ broadly relying upon where you work and how much experience you have. As a novice truck driver, you may need to invest loads of energy in the street and far from home. You may return home each end of the week or at regular intervals for a couple days. As you pick up experience, you might be able to land a truck driving position that permits you to be home more time than before.
- American Institute of Technology Phoenix, AZ Offers Truck Driving Programs; Small Campus; Urban Setting; Small Class Sizes
- CDL Truck School Inc. Phoenix, AZ Offers Truck Driving Programs
- Central Arizona College Coolidge, AZ Offers Diesel Mechanic Programs; Offers Truck Driving Programs; Medium Campus; Rural Setting.
- Cochise College - Douglas, Sierra Vista, Wilcox AZ
- Glendale Community College Glendale, AZ Offers Truck Driving Programs; Large Campus; Suburban Setting; Scholarships.
- HDS Truck Driving Institute Tucson, AZ Offers Truck Driving Programs; Small Campus; Rural Setting; Scholarship, Small Class Sizes
- M. S. Carriers Professional Driving Academy - Phoenix
- Phoenix, AZ Offers Truck Driving Programs
- Pima Community College Tucson, AZ
- SAGE- Kingman Kingman, AZ Offers Truck Driving Programs
- Southwest Truck Driver Training Phoenix, AZ Offers Truck Driving Programs
- Western Truck School- Glendale, Phoenix and Tucson