How to Enroll in the Best Truck Driver Classes near Dennard Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Dennard AR. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Dennard residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll get the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified 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 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 Dennard AR, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply 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 highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions for the two 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. 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 more 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Dennard AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are a few more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Dennard AR area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum 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 business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Dennard AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. 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 reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Dennard AR schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although 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 crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver 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 methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Dennard AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with numerous 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Dennard AR schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Dennard AR school you enroll in offers 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 teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Dennard AR employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Dennard AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
CDL Truck Driver Training Dennard Arkansas
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Truck Driver Training and wanting information on the topic CDL Training Near Me. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might 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 select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Dennard AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Arkansas Highway 254
Highway 254 (AR 254, Ark. 254, and Hwy. 254) is an east–west state highway in Van Buren County and Searcy County. The route of 20.68 miles (33.28 km) runs from Highway 27 east to US Route 65 (US 65) at Dennard.
Highway 254 begins at Highway 27 in rural parts of northwestern Van Buren County. The route winds north through hills and farmland to enter Searcy County, then heads east to re-enter Van Buren County. The route terminates at US 65 at Dennard. The route does not cross any other state highways.
The route first appears on the state highway map in January 1959 as a 5-mile (8.0 km) unpaved road shooting west from Dennard. The road was later extended east through Booster and south to Highway 16 in 1967. Highway 254 was rerouted along the current alignment around 1981.