How to Pick the Best Truck Driving Classes near Hattieville Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Hattieville AR. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Hattieville home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal means to guarantee you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Hattieville AR, an operator needs to 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 B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are brief explanations of 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. 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 CDL 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. Several 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 need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Hattieville AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Hattieville AR area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize 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 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 business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Hattieville AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations 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 students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is particularly 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 relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Hattieville AR schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to some 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? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide 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 operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Hattieville AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified 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 maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Hattieville AR schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Hattieville AR school you enroll in 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 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 must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at 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 few Hattieville AR employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Hattieville AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Truck Driver School Hattieville Arkansas
Picking the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local 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 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 Truck Driver School and wanting information on the topic Get My CDL. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may 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 enroll in an independent truck driver 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 receive your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Hattieville AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Arkansas Highway 247
Highway 247 (AR 247, Ark. 247, and Hwy. 247) is a designation for four north–south state highways in the Arkansas River Valley. All segments are maintained by the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT).
Highway 247 (AR 247, Ark. 247, and Hwy. 247) is a north–south state highway in southern Pope County. The highway connects Pottsville and I-40 to southern Russellville along the Arkansas Valley Plains. The route is a former alignment of the Butterfield Overland Mail, a predecessor of the Pony Express running from Memphis, Tennessee to California in the 1850s.
Highway 247 begins at Highway 7 (Arkansas Avenue/Scenic 7 Byway) in southern Russellville just east of Whig Creek, and less than one mile (1.6 km) from the Arkansas River. The highway runs east along the southern city limits of Russellville through a largely vacant industrial area, shortly passing through unincorporated area before entering Pottsville. Though within city limits, Highway 247 continues due east through mostly undeveloped terrain, crossing the Tanyard Branch and Galla Creek before turning north. Highway 247 passes over the Union Pacific Railway tracks just before an intersection with US Highway 64 (US 64) and Highway 363 (Crow Mountain Drive) just south of Interstate 40 (I-40).