How to Decide on the Best Truck Driving School near Calion Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Calion AR. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Calion residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Calion AR, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 Commercial Drivers License 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. A few 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 require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Calion AR truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Calion AR area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount 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 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 operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Calion AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arkansas licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Calion AR schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Calion AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Calion AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent 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 graduates. 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 accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Calion AR school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Calion AR employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Calion AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
CDL Training Cost Calion Arkansas
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Training Cost and wanting information on the topic School For CDL License. But first and foremost, you must obtain 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 may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Calion AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
The town grew around the Ouachita River Lock and Dam, completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1916. It was incorporated in 1921 and named Calion after the first three letters of Calhoun County and the final three letters of Union County.
As of the census of 2000, there were 516 people, 219 households, and 146 families residing in the city. The population density was 500.3 people per square mile (193.4/km²). There were 274 housing units at an average density of 265.7/sq mi (102.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.70% White, 33.33% Black or African American, 0.58% Native American, and 0.39% from two or more races. 1.55% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 219 households out of which 26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 17.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.3% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.89.