How to Decide on a Trucking School near Marble Falls Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Marble Falls AR. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Marble Falls home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That 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 Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Marble Falls AR, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type 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 descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed 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 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 required to drive 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. A few 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Marble Falls AR trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are several more things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Marble Falls AR area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided 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 receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Marble Falls AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Marble Falls AR schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential 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 criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will provide 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a good 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 Marble Falls AR schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. 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 less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Marble Falls AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Marble Falls AR school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Marble Falls AR employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Marble Falls AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Marble Falls AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Marble Falls Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Marble Falls, Arkansas
Marble Falls (known as Marble City from 1840–1883, Willcockson from 1883–1934 and Dogpatch from 1966–1997) is an unincorporated community in Newton County, Arkansas, United States. It lies along Arkansas's National Scenic 7 Byway between Harrison and Jasper. The Marble Falls Post Office is located in the parking lot of the now defunct theme park called Dogpatch USA. For a time, the town was known as Dogpatch to promote the theme park.
A Choctaw Indian named Ah-Che-To-Mah was the first settler known to have acquired title to land in the vicinity of Marble Falls. The waterfall once supplied power for a flour mill, cotton gin, and a saw mill. Peter Beller built the original water-powered grist mill there circa, and this mill was later rebuilt and remodeled by several different owners.
The community was originally named Marble City, after the marble that was quarried nearby. A block of marble quarried by Peter Beller and his cousins is part of the Washington Monument. Marble City became known as a health resort in the 1880s, through the advertisements of businessmen such as Dr. Silas Scruggs Stacey, proprietor of the Stacey family store and provider of Dr. S. S. Staceys Sulpher Mountain Bitters (which sold briskly for $1 per bottle).
Pick the Best Truck Driver School Marble Falls AR
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper 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 want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive 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 affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Marble Falls AR.
More Trucking Locations in Arkansas