How to Choose the Right Truck Driving Classes near De Queen Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near De Queen AR. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your De Queen residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and De Queen AR, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver 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 address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. Some 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. Some 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 certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the De Queen AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the De Queen AR area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested 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 calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of De Queen AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover 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 getting the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of De Queen AR schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the De Queen AR schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some truck driving 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 provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the De Queen AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the De Queen AR school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates 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 few De Queen AR employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other De Queen AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are examining 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.
Area Truck Driving School De Queen Arkansas
Picking the right truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available 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 Area Truck Driving School and wanting information on the topic Good Truck Driving Schools. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to consider 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 select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in De Queen AR.
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De Queen, Arkansas
De Queen (/diː kwiːn/ DEE-kween) is a city and the county seat of Sevier County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 6,629 at the 2010 census. The placename is the anglicization of the family name of the Dutch merchant and railway financier, Jan de Goeijen (1861–1944). De Goeijen was reportedly rather unhappy with the deformation of his name.
De Queen hosts a campus of the Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas. The college also provides non-credit coursework in adult education: GED classes, ESL training, test preparation, and computer literacy.
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,629 people in De Queen. The median age was 29. The ethnic and racial composition of the population was 36.7% non-Hispanic white, 5.6% non-Hispanic black, 2.3% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 35.1% reporting some other race and 4.2% reporting two or more races. 53.5% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.