How to Pick the Best Trucking Classes near Friendship Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Friendship AR. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Friendship home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Friendship AR, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one 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 discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are short descriptions for the 2 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 more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Friendship AR truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Friendship AR area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine 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. However, even the best of Friendship AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Friendship AR schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified 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 advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Friendship AR schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive 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 rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Friendship AR schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Friendship AR school you choose provides 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 instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio 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 poor job placement rate or few Friendship AR employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Friendship AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
How To Get Your Class A CDL Friendship Arkansas
Picking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get Your Class A CDL and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving School. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even 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 firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Friendship AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Friendship is located in southern Hot Spring County at 34°13′26″N 93°0′11″W / 34.22389°N 93.00306°W / 34.22389; -93.00306 (34.223845, -93.003182), on high ground half a mile (0.8 km) north of the Ouachita River. U.S. Route 67 passes through the center of town, leading northeast 16 miles (26 km) to Malvern, the county seat, and southwest 10 miles (16 km) to Arkadelphia. Interstate 30 passes just northwest of the town limits, with access from Exit 83. I-30 leads northeast 60 miles (97 km) to Little Rock and southwest 85 miles (137 km) to Texarkana.
As of the census of 2000, there were 206 people, 79 households, and 57 families residing in the town. The population density was 280.4 inhabitants per square mile (109.0/km²). There were 83 housing units at an average density of 113.0 per square mile (43.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 99.51% White, 0.49% from other races. 1.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 79 households out of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.6% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.6% were non-families. 22.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.03.