How to Decide on the Best Trucker Classes near Cave City Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Cave City AR. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Cave City residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Cave City AR, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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. 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 may also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Cave City AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Cave City AR area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent 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 caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine 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 best of Cave City AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good 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 next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Cave City AR schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, 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 regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Cave City 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 a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with 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 restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Cave City AR schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Cave City AR school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. 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 commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Cave City AR employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Cave City AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
How To Get A Class A CDL Cave City Arkansas
Picking the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get A Class A CDL and wanting information on the topic Get My CDL License. However, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive 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 choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Cave City AR.
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Cave City, Arkansas
Cave City is a city in Independence and Sharp counties in the U.S. state of Arkansas. The population was 1,904 at the 2010 census. The city was named for a large cave underneath the Crystal River Tourist Camp, which is the oldest motor court in Arkansas. Cave City is known for its award-winning "world's sweetest" watermelons and holds an annual watermelon festival in July.
Cave City is located at 35°56′53″N 91°33′3″W / 35.94806°N 91.55083°W / 35.94806; -91.55083 (35.948087, -91.550952). The town is centered on, and partially located above, the Crystal River, an underground body of water located in the multi-room Crystal River Cave, for which the town is named. The beginning and ending of the water source has never been determined.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,904 people, 751 households, and 504 families residing in the city. The population density was 752.7 people per square mile (290.1/km²). There were 838 housing units at an average density of 326.1 per square mile (125.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 0.3% Black, 96.9% white or European, 0.1% Asian, and 1.5% from two or more races. 2.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.