How to Find a Trucking School near Arkansas City Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Arkansas City AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Arkansas City residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations 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 address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Arkansas City AR, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, 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 as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Arkansas City AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Arkansas City AR area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty 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 curriculum and training will comply with 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 negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Arkansas City AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors 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 greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Arkansas City AR schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish ample 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 operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Arkansas City AR schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Arkansas City AR schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Arkansas City AR school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out 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 referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Arkansas City AR employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Arkansas City AR area vocational or trade 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 a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Arkansas City AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Arkansas City Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Arkansas City, Arkansas
Arkansas City is a town in Desha County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 366 at the 2010 census. The town is the county seat of Desha County.Arkansas City's historic Commercial District, located at Desoto Avenue and Sprague Street, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As of the census of 2000, there were 589 people, 231 households, and 161 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,232.2 people per square mile (473.8/km²). There were 279 housing units at an average density of 583.7 per square mile (224.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 55.01% White, 43.80% Black or African American, and 1.19% from two or more races. 3.23% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 231 households out of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.0% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.3% were non-families. 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.05.
Pick the Best Trucking School Arkansas City AR
Selecting the right truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Arkansas City AR.
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