Choosing a career path takes time to think about, you would not want to make a mistake as this wastes valuable time.
Now, is being a truck driver the job you want to pursue? This is the right time to start this career as there is a great demand for qualified drivers in the industry.
You need to take CDL training in Arizona and apply for a license as this is the most important requirement to be a truck driver. We encourage you to spend time and investment in pursuing that qualification.
We want to help you attain your goal by giving you this complete guide in getting a CDL license.
Obtaining CDL takes effort in preparation to speed up the process of application and shorten the time it takes to complete all the requirements.
If you want to know everything you need to do and have, we made this article as a reference. Please read on...
How to Become a CDL Licensed Truck Driver
There is more than one way to become a licensed truck driver in Arizona, you probably have your own method. But generally, here are the steps you need to do to get your CDL license and be a truck driver:
- Assess yourself if becoming a truck driver is the job you want to pursue. With dozens of choices in your list of professions, how will you then pick the right one for you? By knowing what the job entails and understanding of the nature of the job aligns with your personality will prepare you for the work ahead. Truck drivers transport over long distances and load and unload goods and materials in a safe and timely manner; you are also tasked to maintain and inspect the truck that is assigned to you, are some of the duties you will do.
- Prepare for the requirements. Preparing helps in understanding the things you need to have prior to applying for CDL. Good preparation prevents you from wasting resources such as time and money and speeds up the process of the application. If you want to know what you need to have for the CDL application, see below the list of requirements.
- Obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). If this is your first time, you must have in your possession a CLP prior to applying for a CDL. Obtaining a CLP involves passing a knowledge test for the type and class of commercial vehicle you are intending to drive. You can coordinate with a Commercial Driver’s License Office for the scheduling of the knowledge test. For the complete list of CLP Requirements, see below.
- Attend school and complete the training. Obtaining the CDL license is more complicated than applying for an ordinary driver’s license. You need to have the necessary skills and knowledge prior to taking the written exam and road test. You will gain those qualifications if you attend school and complete their training program. The list of truck driving schools in Arizona where you can enroll is below, for your reference.
- After receiving your training, you may continue in the process of applying CDL by taking the road test. Road test is required if this is your first time applying for CDL license, also if you’re a holder of a Class C license and you want to move to Class B or Class B to Class A, you need to pass this test; likewise, if you are planning to remove an airbrake restriction, or if you have a revoked or canceled CDL for a year or longer, you need to retake the road test. 6 months is the validity period of the CLP, an ample time for you to attend the school and prepare for the road test.
The CDL license is valid for five (5) years in which you need to renew it after that time to maintain your qualification. The renewal can be done online or by dropping by at any CDL office near you. As of this writing, the current fee for renewing a Class A or B license cost $15.00, for the Class C, the fee is $10.00.
Truck Driving Schools in Arizona
You probably heard from other guys that you can get your CDL without going to school, they’re correct. The problem of doing that is you are not going to pass the test, you got to know how to pass the test, and this where the school comes in. The school will train and teach you to pass the tests. If you are looking for a truck driving school near you, here are where you can enroll:
- Cdl Truck School Inc.
1313 N 25th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85009, Estados Unidos
Contact: +1 602-278-9159
- Southwest Truck Driving School
1230 W. Glenn St., Tucson, AZ 85705, Phone: 833-234-8468
2323 S. 51st Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85043, Phone: 833-234-3848
- Pima Community College
4905 E. Broadway Blvd. Tucson, AZ
Phone: (520) 206-4500; Toll-free: 1-800-860-PIMA
- Phoenix Truck Driving Institute
2621 S. 51st Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85043
- Yuma Truck Driving School
3180 E. 32nd Street, Yuma, AZ 85365
- Trainco Truck Driving School
4255 Stockton Hill Rd., Suite 5, Kingman, AZ 86409
Phone: 928-716-1677; Toll-Free: 877-55-DRIVE
- HDS Truck Driving Institute
6251 S. Wilmot Road Tucson, AZ 85756
- Roadmaster Drivers School
2350 S. 48th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85043
Local: (602) 233-2222, Toll-Free: (800) 831-1300, TDD/TTY: (711)
- Swift Transportation
2100 S. 75th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85043
- American Institute of Technology
440 S 54th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85043
Phone: (602) 233-2222
- Western Truck School
5347 W. Luke St. Ste 2, Glendale, AZ 85040
6025 N 27th Ave Ste 2, Phoenix, AZ 85017
4726 S Country Club Rd., Tucson, AZ 85714
How to Choose a CDL Truck Driving School
There are a lot of things to take into account when choosing a truck driving school in Arizona. It is essential for you to understand how to pick the right one so that you get the best value for your money. Here are some of the criteria you can take note of:
- Small Class Size or student-to-instructor ratio – the ideal number of students per class or trainer is 4 (that is 1:4). If there are too many students, the class will be crowded; you would not get the attention you need from the instructor.
- With evening or weekend classes so it fits with your schedule. If day scheduling is an issue for you, would it be nice to attend the class in the evening or weekend? Find a school that offers such a training schedule.
- Behind the wheel time. One important feature of a good truck driving school that they offer comprehensive classroom training and especially in practical training or behind-the-wheel exercises. This will give you theoretical knowledge and on-the-road skills necessary to pass the CDL and test and perform the actual job.
- Do they provide job placement assistance upon graduation? Your ultimate objective of going into this profession as a truck driver is to get a job. Would it be great getting trained by a school that will also put you on the job? Oh, another tip, find a school with a reputation of placing their graduates at leading companies.
- Do your own research on the school you want to take the training from, look up the reviews of the graduates have to say about that truck driving school. Doing so enables you to obtain first-hand knowledge about that particular school and make an informed decision.
- Know the trainer’s background. Try to find a trainer that students give most appraise to. The trainer who gives the hardest time is the right one you really need to be with.
- Find a truck driving school that will teach you to drive a commercial vehicle in both manual and automatic transmission. It is an important thing to learn to drive both in manual and automatic transmission because you never know what truck will be assigned to you.
How Much Does It Cost You Attending the School
Please do remember that spending an amount of money is worth the future of a rewarding career as a truck driver. I would advise spending some investment. If you are asking, how much it would cost you?
Well, the cost of tuition of going to a truck driving school varies. It would be safe to say that it ranges from $3,000 to $8,000. You also have to pay for the registration fee, books and other supplies, and the cost practical or behind-the-wheel exercises. The other expenses you have to shoulder are the DOT physical test fees and CDL or CLP application fees.
If you really want to enroll in the truck driving course but budget is a big issue, talk to the school if they provide scholarships or offer student loans, while the grant is also an option to pay. Just be cautious with what you are signing, you don’t want to get shocked by the other hidden fees.
Applying for your Arizona Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)
Before you begin your journey of becoming a licensed truck driver, you need to be issued with a commercial learner’s permit (CLP).
In order to obtain CLP, you need to pass the knowledge test for the type and class of commercial vehicle intend to operate and endorsement you want to obtain.
Submission of requirements for your CLP includes DOT certificate, social security card, ID proving your age, proof of residency, proof of one-year driving experience in a vehicle other than a motorcycle and you can request for your record in MVD, pay the necessary fee for class of CLP you want to have, and proof of legal status in the US. See this page to know more about the CLP application process and requirements.
The CLP is valid for 6 months only, enough period for you to be able to finish a truck driving training at the school and continue applying for the CDL by taking the road test.
Here are What You Need to Apply for CDL License
- 18 years old is the minimum age to apply for a CDL which is only valid intrastate (valid only in AZ). If you want to drive interstate (outside the state), you need to be at least 21 years old. If you are below 21, it is against the law to transport a placarded quantity of hazardous materials. The CDL license can be canceled when later found out that you falsely declared that you’re 21 or over.
- Applicants must two (2) documents showing proof of the state of domicile or residence.
- You need to show two (2) forms of identifications indicating your age, one form of ID should bear your photo, see list of valid ID here. The ID must be original or a certified copy of the issuing agency.
- Passed a physical and medical exam; the CDL can be canceled if you do not meet the medical requirements. A medical examiner certificate must be submitted together of all the requirements.
- Provide your social security number; it will be for the purpose identification and as a compliance requirement of federal and state child-support enforcement laws.it will not be used for other purposes.
- Must submit proof of citizenship or lawful permanent residence.
- Prepare for the application fee, presently, Class A and B cost $25.00 while Class C is $12.50.
How to Pass the CDL Written and Driving Tests
You may have heard from other people that passing the written and road tests are hard, don’t let that pre-conceived though get you in the way. You can pass the CDL tests even in the first shot with these tips and guides:
- In order for you to get an edge, it is absolutely important to read the CDL manual as part of your preparation process. The handful contains everything you need to know in order to apply for CDL. If you don’t have the current CDL manual yet, you can download it from here.
- Do an online practice test. This will give you a sneak peek of what the actual exam would be, making easier to pass the exam. Passing the written test is much easier compared to the road test portion. Visit this page if you want to do the Arizona CDL practice test.
- Download Driver-Vehicle Inspection Report Software. Download DVIR software on your phone that will familiarize you with the process of doing a CDL Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection. I cannot recommend a particular one for you to download, but with just a simple Google search, you can find one suitable to your preference.
- Do intense practice on the backing procedure. This is the portion of the road test where most examinees failed. If you are one of the drivers who are having a hard time doing this maneuver, keep working at it. Practice makes you better.
- Find the closest testing site in your location so that you would not have a hard time going there during the exam day and get there early. The state if Arizona has a number of testing sites, here are the testing sites.
- If the exam day is nearing, be calm especially during the actual exam. Don’t let fear and tension meddle with your thinking. The exam is not difficult to pass as you think. Be confident and be calm so that you avoid making mistakes.
Salary of Truck Driver Working in Arizona
Salary is important, this is the reason why you want to be a truck driver. Most people would not go into a profession if it doesn’t pay well.
Now, if you are wondering how much salary you can make as a truck driver in this state, according to the December 26, 2019 report of Salary.com, the average annual salary of truck driver is $52,014 but since there is deviation caused by some factors, it typically ranges from $45,931 to $59,643.
The factors that could affect your salary are the location where you are working; years of experience- obviously, the more experience you have results to better paycheck; the hazardous working conditions also affects your wage, some truckers transport hazardous materials; the market demand of the occupation, etc.
Contacting the Authorities
Arizona Department of Transportation
1655 W. Jackson Street, MD 126F, Phoenix, AZ 85007
Motor Vehicle Division (MVD)
PO Box 2100, MD 555M
Phoenix, AZ 85001
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Phoenix State Plan Office
800 W. Washington Street, 2nd floor Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone: (602) 542-5795, (602) 542-1614
To End This
If you are looking for a stable career where you can reap benefits for years to come, truck driving could be your number choice of the job you want to pursue.
There is a shortage of qualified drivers in the industry and you can capitalize on this by starting early. Take CDL training in Arizona to make you prepared for the things ahead as this will give you a competitive edge of attaining your ultimate goal.
You have to spend some investment as well but that is just a small amount you can easily recuperate because truck driving is one of the occupations well compensated.
We wish you good luck in your career. And please do remember, there is nothing standing between you and your goal of being a truck driver.