How to Pick the Best Truck Driver School near Hampton Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Hampton AR. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Hampton residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll get the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Hampton AR, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will address 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 brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate 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 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 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. 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Hampton AR trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Hampton AR area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Hampton AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Hampton AR schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish sufficient 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 methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Hampton AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with 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 beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Hampton AR schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Hampton AR school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Hampton AR employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Hampton AR area technical or vocational 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 aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
CDL Training Hampton Arkansas
Picking the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of 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 CDL Training and wanting information on the topic Get CDL License. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to think about 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 enroll in an independent trucking 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 choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Hampton AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Hampton is located east of the center of Calhoun County at 33°32′13″N 92°27′56″W / 33.53694°N 92.46556°W / 33.53694; -92.46556 (33.536831, -92.465521). U.S. Routes 278 and 167 intersect in the city. US 278 leads west 23 miles (37 km) to Camden and east 26 miles (42 km) to Warren, while US 167 leads north 21 miles (34 km) to Fordyce and south 27 miles (43 km) to El Dorado.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,579 people, 619 households, and 402 families residing in the city. The population density was 522.4 people per square mile (201.9/km²). There were 699 housing units at an average density of 231.2 per square mile (89.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.18% White, 32.05% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 1.08% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. 1.39% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 619 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 17.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.99.