How to Decide on the Best Trucker School near Cabot Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Cabot AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Cabot residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on 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 discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Cabot AR, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are short explanations of the 2 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Cabot AR truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Cabot AR area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Cabot AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Arkansas licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining 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 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 Cabot AR schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors 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 method is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish sufficient 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Cabot AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Cabot AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Cabot AR school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an 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 are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Cabot AR employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Cabot AR area technical or vocational 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 navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Truck Driving School Cabot Arkansas
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving School and wanting information on the topic Top Truck Driving Schools. However, you must receive the appropriate 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 think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving 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 part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Cabot AR.
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Cabot is the largest city in Lonoke County, Arkansas, United States and a suburb of Little Rock. According to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 25,797, ranking it as the state's 20th largest city, behind Paragould. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area. Cabot has the third highest median household income in Arkansas (after Maumelle and White Hall).
Before the city of Cabot existed, an 1862 typhoid epidemic took the lives of about 1500 Confederate soldiers previously under Allison Nelson who were camped in the hills surrounding Cabot and nearby Austin, Arkansas. Four hundred twenty-eight poorly marked graves were exhumed in 1905 by a group of Confederate veterans and moved to a new site at Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery located in Cabot on Rye Drive, just off Cherry Road between Campground and Mount Carmel Roads. Marble gravestones were placed over each grave and a large marble obelisk was erected to honor the dead. In 1982, a group of volunteers from Cabot began maintaining the cemetery, which had fallen into disrepair.
The city of Cabot began as a small settlement at a refueling station on the Cairo & Fulton Railroad. The settlement first appeared in 1873 and is thought to have been named after a railroad surveyor. First Baptist Church was established in 1876 and the Bank of Cabot (later merged into Centennial Bank) was founded in 1903. The city of Cabot was officially incorporated November 9, 1891 as the 139th city in Arkansas.
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