How to Select a CDL Training School near Frenchmans Bayou Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Frenchmans Bayou AR. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to think about before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Frenchmans Bayou home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional 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 cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Frenchmans Bayou AR, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 drivers may be able to operate 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 needed 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 operators may be qualified to drive 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 operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Frenchmans Bayou AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Frenchmans Bayou AR area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. 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 assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Frenchmans Bayou AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to confirm 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 Arkansas and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Frenchmans Bayou AR schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide plenty of 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Frenchmans Bayou AR schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Frenchmans Bayou AR schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Frenchmans Bayou AR school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads 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 not many Frenchmans Bayou AR employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Frenchmans Bayou AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Frenchmans Bayou AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Frenchmans Bayou Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Arkansas Highway 308
Highway 308 (AR 308, Ark. 308, and Hwy. 308) is a designation for two east–west state highways in the Arkansas Delta region of eastern Arkansas. One segment of 6.21 miles (9.99 km) runs east from U.S. Route 63 Business (US 63B) in Marked Tree to the Marked Tree Municipal Airport. A second route of 10.94 miles (17.61 km) begins at Highway 118 at Whitton and runs east to US 61 at Frenchman's Bayou. Both routes are maintained by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD).
Highway 308 begins at Highway 118 and runs south to Birdsong. The route then turns north to concur with Highway 77 briefly. AR 308 continues east to cross Interstate 55 before terminating at US 61 in Frenchman's Bayou.
The segment between Marked Tree and Highway 135 was adopted as a state highway by the Arkansas State Highway Commission on April 24, 1963. The spur route to the Marked Tree Municipal Airport was added to the system on June 24, 1970, and the business route was created on March 28, 1973.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School Frenchmans Bayou AR
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need 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 choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Frenchmans Bayou AR.
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