How to Choose the Right Trucker School near Concord Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Concord AR. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Concord residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest 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 Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Concord AR, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class 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 short descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Concord AR truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Concord AR area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, 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. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive 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 indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Concord AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local 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 placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Concord AR schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. 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 ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will provide lots 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 driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Concord AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement 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 rather than having 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 be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Concord AR schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide 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 believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Concord AR school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Make sure 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, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Concord AR employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Concord AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
CDL Classes Cost Concord Arkansas
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Classes Cost and wanting information on the topic Semi Driving School. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Concord AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Concord is located near the northeast corner of Cleburne County at 35°39′51″N 91°50′45″W / 35.66417°N 91.84583°W / 35.66417; -91.84583 (35.664263, -91.845948).Arkansas Highway 25 passes through the town, leading southwest 22 miles (35 km) to Heber Springs, the county seat, and northeast 18 miles (29 km) to Batesville.
As of the census of 2000, there were 255 people, 106 households, and 78 families residing in the town. The population density was 34.8/km² (90.1/mi²). There were 119 housing units at an average density of 16.2/km² (42.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.82% White, 0.78% Native American, and 0.39% from two or more races. 1.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 106 households out of which 30.2% had children from family members under the age of 18 living with them, 62.3% were living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.4% were non-families. 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.88.