How to Select the Best Trucker School near Ben Lomond Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Ben Lomond AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Ben Lomond home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Ben Lomond AR, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations of the two 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. Several 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 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. Some 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Ben Lomond AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some more things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Ben Lomond AR area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace 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 standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. 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 best of Ben Lomond AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. 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 personal instruction they will need. This is especially 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 drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Ben Lomond AR schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide ample 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among 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. Check with the Ben Lomond AR schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Ben Lomond AR schools you are considering 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 allow third 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 reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Ben Lomond AR school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate 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 commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement 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 referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Ben Lomond AR employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Ben Lomond 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 evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Class A Truck Driving Schools Ben Lomond Arkansas
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills 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 critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class A Truck Driving Schools and wanting information on the topic Class B License Training. However, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated 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 truck driver in Ben Lomond AR.
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Ben Lomond, Arkansas
As of the census of 2000, there were 126 people, 58 households, and 40 families residing in the town. The population density was 12.4/km² (32.0/mi²). There were 74 housing units at an average density of 7.3/km² (18.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 92.06% White, 1.59% Black or African American, 5.56% Native American, and 0.79% from two or more races. 0.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 58 households out of which 22.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.6% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.68.
In the town, the population was spread out with 19.0% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 19.0% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 28.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females, there were 106.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.9 males.