How to Select the Right CDL Driving School near Clarkridge Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Clarkridge AR. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Clarkridge residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills 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 pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance 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 Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Clarkridge AR, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 CDL is required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Clarkridge AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional factors that you should research while carrying out 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 Clarkridge AR area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, 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. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Clarkridge AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Clarkridge AR schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. 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 ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good 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 actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark 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 Clarkridge AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Clarkridge AR schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Clarkridge AR school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating 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 companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Clarkridge AR employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Clarkridge 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 assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Truck Training Clarkridge Arkansas
Choosing the right truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape 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 Training and wanting information on the topic Class A CDL Classes. However, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may 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 choose an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Clarkridge AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Arkansas Highway 201
Highway 201 (AR 201, Ark. 201, and Hwy. 201) is a north–south state highway in Baxter County, Arkansas. The route runs 24.05 miles (38.70 km) from Arkansas Highway 341 in Salesville north to the Missouri state line through Mountain Home, the county seat of Baxter County.
AR 201 begins in Salesville at Push Mountain Road. The highway runs west to Shady Grove, when it curves north to Mountain Home. Upon reaching Mountain Home, AR 201 intersects US 62/US 412 before the lone AR 201 spur leaves the main route. AR 201 continues north as S College Street past the Casey House until intersecting 9th Street. A concurrency forms east then north through downtown Mountain Home. AR 5/AR 201 intersect and follow US 62B for six blocks north, passing the Mountain Home Commercial Historic District and Baxter County Courthouse, both on the National Register of Historic Places. The routes run together as Hickory Street when AR 5/AR 201 branch west and US 62B stays east. Shortly after this fork, AR 201 departs AR 5 and heads due north. The highway runs through north Mountain Home and exits town, becoming a winding rural route. AR 201 runs through the unincorporated community of Clarkridge near the Missouri state line, when the road becomes state supplemental route J.
The first portion of Highway 201 was from Mountain Home to Missouri, and was designated on July 10, 1957. The highway was entirely gravel. The southern half of this segment was paved in 1961. The highway was extended south to Salesville in 1963. The entire northern segment was paved to the Missouri state line the following year. The entire southern portion was paved by 1979.