How to Pick the Right Truck Driver Classes near Booneville Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Booneville AR. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Booneville residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk 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 Booneville AR, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Booneville AR truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Booneville AR area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Booneville AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arkansas licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Booneville AR schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although 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 vital that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Booneville AR schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Booneville AR schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Booneville AR school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Booneville AR employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Booneville AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Schools For CDL Drivers License Booneville Arkansas
Choosing the right truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Schools For CDL Drivers License and wanting information on the topic How To Become Truck Driver. However, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to look into 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 choose an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Booneville AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Booneville is a city in Logan County, Arkansas, United States and the county seat of the southern district. Located in the Arkansas River Valley between the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains, the city is one of the oldest in western Arkansas. The city's economy was first based upon the railroad and Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium, but has evolved into a diverse economy of small businesses and light industry as the early drivers have disappeared. Booneville's population was 3,990 at the 2010 census.
Booneville supports a community center, a senior citizens center, a community hospital, a municipal airport and new school facilities. Hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and other outdoors activities are readily available in nearby national forests and state parks.
The city was founded in 1828 when Walter Cauthron, an early explorer of the Arkansas Territory, built a log cabin and store along the Petit Jean River. Intending to name the community "Bonneville" for friend Benjamin Bonneville, the name was later changed. Another theory is that the name was to honor Daniel Boone, a friend of the Logan family for which the county is named.