How to Decide on a Trucking School near Parkin Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Parkin AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Parkin residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select 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 Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Parkin AR, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Parkin AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Parkin AR area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Parkin AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following 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 receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning 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 relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Parkin AR schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some 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.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Parkin AR schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Parkin AR schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Parkin AR school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Parkin AR employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Parkin AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Parkin AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Parkin Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Parkin is a city in Cross County, Arkansas, United States, along the St. Francis River. The population was 1,105 at the 2010 census, down from 1,602 in 2000. Due to the recent population loss, a large segment of the downtown area has many abandoned and boarded-up buildings.
Parkin is located in eastern Cross County at 35°15′55″N 90°33′18″W / 35.26528°N 90.55500°W / 35.26528; -90.55500 (35.265392, -90.554880), on the east bank of the St. Francis River just south of the mouth of the Tyronza River. U.S. Route 64 passes through the community, leading east 5 miles (8 km) to Earle and west 14 miles (23 km) to Wynne, the Cross County seat.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,602 people, 603 households, and 404 families residing in the city. The population density was 627.2 people per square mile (242.6/km²). There were 657 housing units at an average density of 257.2/sq mi (99.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 10.40% White, 88.54% Black or African American, 0.44% Native American, 0.06% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 0.31% from two or more races. 0.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Right Truck Driver School Parkin AR
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. 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 may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Parkin AR.
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