How to Pick a Trucking School near Story Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Story AR. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Story home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk 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 United States and Story AR, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. Some 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 required to drive 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. 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 may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Story AR truck driving 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 must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Story AR area are accredited due to the demanding 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 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 be given plenty of driving time. For 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Story AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing department to make sure 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 employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Story AR schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will furnish lots 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Story AR schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from some 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 instead of having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Story AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Story AR school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an 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 are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Story AR employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Story AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out 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 Story AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Story Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The ArmaLite AR-15 is a select-fire, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed assault rifle manufactured in the United States between 1959 and 1964, and adopted by the United States Armed Forces as the M16 rifle. Designed by American gun manufacturer ArmaLite in 1956, it was based on its AR-10 rifle. The ArmaLite AR-15 was designed to be a lightweight assault rifle and to fire a new high-velocity, lightweight, small-caliber cartridge to allow infantrymen to carry more ammunition.
In 1959, ArmaLite sold its rights to the AR-10 and AR-15 to Colt due to financial difficulties, and limitations in terms of manpower and production capacity. After modifications (most notably, the charging handle was re-located from under the carrying handle like AR-10 to the rear of the receiver), Colt rebranded it the Colt ArmaLite AR-15. Colt marketed the redesigned rifle to various military services around the world and it was subsequently adopted by the U.S. military as the M16 rifle, which went into production in March 1964.
Colt continued to use the AR-15 trademark for its line of semi-automatic-only rifles marketed to civilian and law-enforcement customers, known as Colt AR-15. The Armalite AR-15 is the parent of a variety of Colt AR-15 & M16 rifle variants.
Choose the Right CDL School Story AR
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to consider 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 enroll in an independent trucking school and have the option of driving 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 entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Story AR.
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