How to Pick a Trucking School near Sweet Home Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Sweet Home AR. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Sweet Home home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to ensure you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your objective 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? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Sweet Home AR, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class 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 brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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. A few 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 drive certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Sweet Home AR trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Sweet Home AR area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Sweet Home AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning 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 companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arkansas licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Sweet Home AR schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, 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 necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Sweet Home AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Sweet Home AR schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Sweet Home AR school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Sweet Home AR employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Sweet Home AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Sweet Home AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Sweet Home Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Home! Sweet Home!
"Home, Sweet Home" is a song adapted from American actor and dramatist John Howard Payne's 1823 opera Clari, or the Maid of Milan, the song's melody was composed by Englishman Sir Henry Bishop with lyrics by Payne. Bishop had earlier published a more elaborate version of this melody, naming it "A Sicilian Air", but he later confessed to having written himself.
Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there Which seek thro' the world, is ne'er met elsewhere Home! Home! Sweet, sweet home! There's no place like home There's no place like home! An exile from home splendor dazzles in vain Oh give me my lowly thatched cottage again The birds singing gaily that came at my call And gave me the peace of mind dearer than all Home, home, sweet, sweet home There's no place like home, there's no place like home!
When the song was published separately, it quickly sold 100,000 copies. The publishers made a considerable profit from it, net £2,100 in the first year, and the producer of the opera did well. Only Payne did not really profit by its success. "While his money lasted, he was a prince of bohemians", but had little business sense. In 1852 Henry Bishop "relaunched" the song as a parlour ballad, and it became very popular in the United States throughout the American Civil War and after. The song's American premiere took place at the Winter Tivoli Theatre in Philadelphia on October 29, 1823, and was sung by "Mrs. Williams."
Pick the Right Truck Driving School Sweet Home AR
Picking the right truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Sweet Home AR.
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