How to Find the Right CDL Training School near Doddridge Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Doddridge AR. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Doddridge home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal means to guarantee you’ll obtain the right 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 objective in mind, just how do you pick 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 CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Doddridge AR, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply 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 distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Doddridge AR truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Doddridge AR area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Doddridge AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers 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 receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Doddridge AR schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Doddridge AR schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular 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 associations with numerous 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. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Doddridge AR schools you are considering are independent or captive 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 truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Doddridge AR school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend 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 accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Doddridge AR employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Doddridge AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Obtaining CDL License Doddridge Arkansas
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession 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 many options available 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 Obtaining CDL License and wanting information on the topic Trucker Schools. However, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Doddridge AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Doddridge is an unincorporated community in southern Miller County, Arkansas, United States, approximately five miles north of the Louisiana border. Doddridge is located at the junction of Arkansas Highway 160 and U.S. Route 71, and I-49 (former Highway 549) passes through the area, connecting it to Texarkana and Louisiana, as well as the confluence of the Sulphur and Red rivers. Although unincorporated, Doddridge has a post office, with the ZIP code of 71834.
It is within the Fouke School District. It was previously served by the Bright Star School District, which operated the Bright Star School in Doddridge. On July 1, 2004, the Bright Star School District was merged into the Fouke School District.