How to Find the Right Truck Driving Classes near Charlotte Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Charlotte AR. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Charlotte home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills 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 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 discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Charlotte AR, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight 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). Below are short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate 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. 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 may also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Charlotte AR truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some additional points that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Charlotte AR area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Charlotte AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Charlotte AR schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide lots 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators 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. Although driving time varies between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Charlotte AR schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Charlotte AR schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are considering 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 locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Charlotte AR school you select provides 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 commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Charlotte AR employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Charlotte 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 examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Getting A CDL Charlotte Arkansas
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to launching 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 crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Getting A CDL and wanting information on the topic CDL School Training. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Charlotte AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Thomas James "TJ" Ballester (born September 5, 1987), better known by his ring name AR Fox, is an American professional wrestler, known for his work in promotions like Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), Dragon Gate USA, and Evolve. Fox has also worked for Dragon Gate in Japan, Full Impact Pro (FIP), where he won the 2011 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup, and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG). He currently also serves as the head trainer of the WWA4 wrestling school in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 2007, Ballester turned his backyard wrestling hobby into a career in professional wrestling, debuting after being trained by Curtis "Mr." Hughes at his World Wrestling Alliance 4 (WWA4) promotion's wrestling school in Atlanta, Georgia. He later also underwent further training in WWE's developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). Originally working under the ring name "Ampliflyer", Ballester spent the next couple of years working minor promotions on the American independent circuit including WWA4 and Prime Time Pro Wrestling (PTPW). Ballester eventually adopted the ring name "AR Fox", feeling that due to his small size, he needed to "outfox" his opponents to gain an advantage.
Ballester, as AR Fox, made his debut for Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) on February 13, 2010, losing to Aaron Arbo in an "Opportunity Knocks" three-way match, which also included Unbreakable Andy. After teaming with Chip Day in a tag team loss against Zero Gravity (Brett Gakiya and CJ Esparza) on March 27, Fox picked up his first win in CZW on April 10, when he defeated Aaron Arbo and Unbreakable Andy in another three-way match. Fox then entered a storyline, where it was rumored that CZW officials did not believe he had what it took to be a wrestler for the promotion. On September 10, Fox defeated Alex Colon, Facade, Ricochet, Ruckus and tHURTeen in to win the Chris Cash Aerial Assault ladder match and become the number one contender to the CZW World Junior Heavyweight Championship. However, he would go on to fail in his title challenge against Adam Cole on October 9. After defeating Alex Colon on November 13, Fox was granted another shot at the title on December 11, but was again defeated by Cole, following interference from his new manager, Mia Yim. On March 12, 2011, Fox defeated Alex Colon and Ryan McBride in a three-way match to qualify for the Best of the Best X tournament. He entered the tournament on April 9, but was eliminated by Sami Callihan in a first round three-way match, which also included Jake Crist. Despite his early elimination, Fox earned praise from Callihan, who named him the "people's choice", giving him the People's Choice Award he had won himself. This effectively ended the storyline, where CZW officials were doubting Fox's abilities.