How to Find the Best CDL Driving School near Banks Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Banks AR. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Banks residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Banks AR, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries 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. 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Banks AR truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several additional points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Banks AR area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount 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 program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Banks AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous 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 contact the Arkansas licensing department to make sure 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 employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Banks AR schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide sufficient 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies among 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 Banks AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Banks AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Banks AR school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Banks AR employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Banks AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
CDL Driving School Near Me Banks Arkansas
Choosing the right truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of 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 CDL Driving School Near Me and wanting information on the topic CDL Truck School. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Banks AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Banks is located in northwest Bradley County at 33°34′36″N 92°16′5″W / 33.57667°N 92.26806°W / 33.57667; -92.26806 (33.576764, -92.268129).U.S. Route 278 passes through the center of the town, leading east 13 miles (21 km) to Warren, the county seat, and west 13 miles (21 km) to Hampton, the county seat of Calhoun County.
As of the census of 2000, there were 120 people, 50 households, and 32 families residing in the town. The population density was 118.8/km² (311.5/mi²). There were 63 housing units at an average density of 62.4/km² (163.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 72.50% White, 20.00% Black or African American, 4.17% from other races, and 3.33% from two or more races. 5.00% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 50 households out of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.0% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.0% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.97.