How to Decide on the Right CDL Training Classes near Drasco Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Drasco AR. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to think about before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Drasco home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Drasco AR, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss 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). Below are short explanations of the two 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 greater 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Drasco AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Drasco 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure 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 Drasco AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use 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 graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good 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 ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual attention 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 professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Drasco AR schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some 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.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will furnish plenty 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Drasco AR schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Drasco AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other 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 noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Drasco AR school you choose 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 spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage 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 Drasco AR employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Drasco AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Commercial Truck Driving School Drasco Arkansas
Selecting the right trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance 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 crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Commercial Truck Driving School and wanting information on the topic Certified CDL Trucker Schools. However, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker 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 no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Drasco AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Arkansas Highway 25
Arkansas Highway 25 is a northeast–southwouthwest state highway in north central Arkansas. The route runs 85.66 miles (137.86 km) from US 64 in Conway to US 63/412 in Black Rock through Greers Ferry, Batesville, and the foothills of The Ozarks.
AR 25 begins in Conway at US 64. Near Conway, it is strictly a local route with no direct access to Interstate 40. A I-40 exit west of AR 25 is marked as AR 25 North, but the road serving it is officially called US 64 Spur; its junction with US 64 is 0.7 mile west of AR 25.
From Conway, the road runs north to Wooster, where it turns northeast, meeting US 65 in Greenbrier. The route overlaps US 65 for several miles north of Greenbrier, then continues northeast, meeting AR 107 and AR 225 before entering Quitman. AR 25 continues diagonally northeast, meeting AR 16 and Little Rock Road near Heber Springs. A business loop and two spur routes both serve Heber Springs. AR 25 continues north with AR 5, a partnership named Heber Springs Road, until AR 5 departs at Wolf Bayou. AR 87 joins AR 25 in nearby Concord.