How to Pick the Best Truck Driver Classes near Gurdon Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Gurdon AR. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Gurdon residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Gurdon AR, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight 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). Below are short descriptions 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate 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. A few 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 operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Gurdon AR truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some additional things 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 Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Gurdon AR area are accredited due to the demanding 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 obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively 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 Gurdon AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is especially 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 be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Gurdon AR schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient 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 actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark 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 Gurdon AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous 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 work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Gurdon AR schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Gurdon AR school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared 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 fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Gurdon AR employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Gurdon AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
How To Obtain Class A CDL Gurdon Arkansas
Picking the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation 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 many 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 Obtain Class A CDL and wanting information on the topic Getting Your CDL. However, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds 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 company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Gurdon AR.
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The town was founded in the late nineteenth century as a railroad town for the timber industry on the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway (now the Union Pacific Railroad). Originally settled in 1873, the city was incorporated in 1880. The town's name derives from railroad executive Henry Gurdon Marquand's middle name.
Gurdon is located in southern Clark County at 33°54′55″N 93°9′19″W / 33.91528°N 93.15528°W / 33.91528; -93.15528 (33.9152871, -93.155354). U.S. Route 67 passes through the city, leading northeast 15 miles (24 km) to Arkadelphia, the county seat, and southwest 16 miles (26 km) to Prescott.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.6 km2), of which 2.5 square miles (6.4 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 2.88%, is water.