How to Decide on the Right Truck Driving Classes near Centerville Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Centerville AR. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Centerville home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Centerville AR, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example 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 Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Centerville AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Centerville AR area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Centerville AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following 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 individual 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 train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Centerville AR schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent 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 actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Centerville AR schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Centerville AR schools you are considering 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 permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Centerville AR school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out 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 Centerville AR employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Centerville AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
CDL License School Centerville Arkansas
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL License School and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving Lessons. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into 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 select an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Centerville AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Arkansas Highway 28
AR 28 begins from OK 128 near Bates and travels east to AR 80 in Hon. A concurrency[disputed – discuss] is then formed with US 71 from Waldron south to Needmore. Heading east, the route meets AR 307 at Bluffton and again further east at Briggsville, AR 28 meets and concurs with AR 27 at Rover. The route continues east to AR 60 in Plainview and a concurrence with AR 7 at Ola where it crosses AR 10 and heads northeast to AR 247/Centerville and a concurrence[disputed – discuss] west with AR 154. The route arrows northeast to Dardanelle, where it terminates.