How to Enroll in the Best Trucker School near Cherry Valley Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Cherry Valley AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Cherry Valley home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal method to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. 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 goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Cherry Valley AR, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses 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 driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 CDL 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. Some 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 may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Cherry Valley AR truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are several more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Cherry Valley AR area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Cherry Valley 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 history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, 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 make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no 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 regarding 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 frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Cherry Valley AR schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best 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 qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Cherry Valley AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Cherry Valley AR schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Cherry Valley AR school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Cherry Valley AR employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Cherry Valley AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
How To Get A Class B CDL Cherry Valley Arkansas
Selecting the appropriate trucking 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 forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered 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 How To Get A Class B CDL and wanting information on the topic How To Get A Class A CDL License. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to think about 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 select an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Cherry Valley AR.
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Cherry Valley, Arkansas
Cherry Valley is located in northern Cross County at 35°24′13″N 90°45′10″W / 35.40361°N 90.75278°W / 35.40361; -90.75278 (35.403666, -90.752742), at the western edge of Crowleys Ridge. Arkansas Highway 1 leads south 13 miles (21 km) to Wynne, the county seat, and north 11 miles (18 km) to Harrisburg.
As of the census of 2000, there were 704 people, 276 households, and 197 families residing in the city. The population density was 806.3 people per square mile (312.4/km²). There were 300 housing units at an average density of 343.6/sq mi (133.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.33% White, 5.97% Black or African American, 0.57% Native American, 0.14% Asian, and 0.99% from two or more races. 0.28% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 276 households out of which 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.6% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.09.