How to Select the Best CDL Training School near Brickeys Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Brickeys AR. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Brickeys residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow 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? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Brickeys AR, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick 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 short summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 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. A few 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Brickeys AR trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Brickeys AR area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided 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 standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For 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 measure up to the very high standards 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 business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Brickeys AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain 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 students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, 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 individual 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 teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Brickeys AR schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide lots of 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 essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Brickeys AR schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Brickeys AR schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Brickeys AR school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote 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 accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Brickeys AR employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Brickeys AR area vocational or trade 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 get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
How To Choose A Truck Driver School Brickeys Arkansas
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Choose A Truck Driver School and wanting information on the topic CDL Driving Classes. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to look into 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 truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Brickeys AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Arkansas Highway 131
Highway 131 (AR 131, Ark. 131, and Hwy. 131) is a designation for five north–south state highways in northeast Arkansas. One route of 5.51 miles (8.87 km) runs from Highway 1 in Haynes east to Lee County Road 719. A second route of 9.57 miles (15.40 km) begins at US Route 79 (US 79) near Brickeys and runs south[a 1] to the Mississippi River levee. A third route of 8.74 miles (14.07 km) forms a semicircle around Horseshoe Lake and Porter Lake, connecting to Highway 147 at both ends. A fourth route of 3.11 miles (5.01 km) begins at Highway 147 and runs through Edmondson. A fifth route begins at Interstate 55/US 61/US 64/US 79 (I-55/US 61/US 64/US 79) in West Memphis and runs north to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive/Mound City Road in West Memphis. All routes are maintained by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD).
Highway 131 begins in Haynes at Highway 1/Crowley's Ridge Parkway and runs east to Lee County Wildlife Management Area. The highway continues slightly further east to terminate at Lee County Road 719 at the St. Francis County line. A segment of this route was discovered to be part of the state highway system in 2011.
The second segment of Highway 131 begins at US 79 near the unincorporated community of Brickeys. Highway 131 winds south around Raggio and Park Place before terminating at the Mississippi River levee.