How to Enroll in the Best CDL Driving School near Antoine Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Antoine AR. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Antoine residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge 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 decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Antoine AR, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify 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 discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with 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 needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds 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 licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Antoine AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Antoine AR area are accredited because of 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 certain advantages. Potential students know 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 actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Antoine AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Antoine AR schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will provide sufficient 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Antoine AR schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Antoine AR schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Antoine AR school you enroll in provides 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 working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate 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 Antoine AR employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Antoine AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Driving Truck School Antoine Arkansas
Picking the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Driving Truck School and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving School Requirements. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to think about 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 driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Antoine AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
The town of Antoine began as a stopping point on the old Southwest Trail to Texas in the early 19th century. It was named for a French trapper who was found dead at his camp along the road (the site of the present town cemetery). The only identification found on the man was his first name, "Antoine". He was buried on the hill by the river and the gravesite became a landmark for travelers. Eventually, the name was given to the river and to the town that grew up beside it. Antoine's grave is located within the bounds of the town cemetery, although the marker has disappeared over time. Antoine is located on State Highway 26 between Murfreesboro and Arkadelphia in the southeastern section of Pike County. Antoine was one of the very first settlements in what is now Pike County. It had characteristics of what our forefathers were seeking - rich level farmland and located on the bank of the Antoine River, giving them an adequate supply of water. To the north is an elevated mountain range ideal for trapping.
The town did not suffer much disaster during the Civil War, even though Union Soldiers were located in the area. The only incident recalled was about two young Antoine boys whose father was away in the Confederate Army. Being the only men at home they brought corn into Antoine to the gristmill for their mother. As they were leaving they were seized by the Yankee soldiers, their meal taken and the boys hanged from a large chinquapin tree just north of the old John Canter Home.
By 1890 the town had sprung up and had a post office, a bank, a church, school, cotton gin, gristmill, bottling works, sawmill, blacksmith shop, two hotels, drug store, hardware, billiard and pool hall, cafe, doctor's office, city hall, and several merchandise stores. During this time, railroad connections were established with Gurdon to the south, Amity to the north, and Delight to the west. The historic railroad trestle over the Antoine River was built in 1908 and remains in use today. The first church house in Antoine was Union Church located where the Methodist Church now stands. Brooks Stell of Delight organized the Church of Christ which was the second church to form. When he held a meeting in the Union Church building in 1908, the response was so great that he continued the meeting and moved his followers to the old Seven-Up school house across the wolf Creek, near the Joe Thomas home. About this time there was being erected a new two story brick school house, and when it was completed the congregation bought the little wood frame school for their meeting place. It was located in the vicinity of where Guy Howell's home now stands. The present church building was erected in 1930. The Methodists continued on in the old Union building and later built a beautiful brick building. Sometime later the Baptist Church was organized.