How to Select the Right CDL Training Classes near Curtis Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Curtis AR. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Curtis home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal method to make certain you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Curtis AR, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Curtis AR truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole 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 some more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Curtis AR area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Curtis AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next 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 individual instruction 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Curtis AR schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained 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 successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach 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 ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Curtis AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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 choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Curtis AR schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are looking at 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 moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Curtis AR school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Curtis AR employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Curtis AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Professional Truck Driving School Curtis Arkansas
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Professional Truck Driving School and wanting information on the topic How To Be A Trucker. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to think about 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 choose an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Curtis AR.
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Ken Curtis (born Curtis Wain Gates, July 2, 1916 – April 28, 1991) was an American singer and actor best known for his role as Festus Haggen on the CBS western television series Gunsmoke. Although he appeared on Gunsmoke earlier in other roles, he was first cast as Festus in season 8 episode 13, 12/8/1962 "Us Haggens". His next appearance was Season 9, episode 2 as Kyle Kelly, in "Lover Boy". Curtis joined the cast of Gunsmoke permanently as Festus in "Prairie Wolfer", season 9 episode 13, in 1964.
Born in Lamar in Prowers County in southeastern Colorado, Curtis lived his first ten years on a ranch on Muddy Creek in eastern Bent County. In 1926, the family moved to Las Animas, the county seat of Bent County, so that his father, Dan Sullivan Gates, could run for sheriff. The campaign was successful, and Gates served from 1927 to 1931 as Bent County sheriff. The family lived below the jail, since the jail was the whole second floor and his mother, Nellie Sneed Gates, cooked for the prisoners. The jail is located for historical preservation purposes on the grounds of the Bent County Courthouse in Las Animas.
Curtis was the quarterback of his Bent County High School football team and played clarinet in the school band. He graduated in 1935. During World War II, Curtis served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1945.