How to Select the Best Trucking School near Des Arc Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Des Arc AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition 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 provides good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Des Arc residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal method to make certain you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, 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 target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Des Arc AR, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 operators may be able to drive 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 greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Des Arc AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are some more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Des Arc AR area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Des Arc AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several 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 provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and employ teachers 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 higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes 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. The majority of Des Arc AR schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide ample 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Des Arc AR schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Des Arc AR schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Des Arc AR school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. 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 are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Des Arc AR employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Des Arc AR area vocational or trade 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 must be submitted.
Best Trucking Schools Des Arc Arkansas
Selecting the right truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Best Trucking Schools and wanting information on the topic CDL Driving School Near Me. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Des Arc AR.
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Des Arc, Arkansas
Des Arc is a city on the White River in the Arkansas Delta, United States. It is the largest city in Prairie County, Arkansas, and the county seat for the county's northern district. Incorporated in 1854, Des Arc's position on the river has shaped its culture, history, and economy, beginning as a major lumber shipping port but leaving the city vulnerable to major floods in 1927 and 1937. As river shipping declined, Des Arc was bypassed by railroads, Interstate highways, and much of the post-industrial society. Des Arc's history is preserved by seven listings on the National Register of Historic Places, and the region's history is interpreted at Lower White River State Park. The city's population stopped growing in the 1980s and has been declining since, with a population of 1,717 at the 2010 Census.
White settlement in the area began in the Lower White River Valley while the area was within French Louisiana, which lasted from 1686-1763. French from Canada and South Louisiana passed through the area while hunting and trapping bears and other animals. They shipped furs and bear oil downriver to Arkansas Post, which was the only established settlement in the region, then likely onto New Orleans. During this period, several places were named by the French, including Des Arc and other places in Prairie County such as La Grue.
Des Arc was founded in 1854. A map shows the original town included 80 residential blocks, and two blocks for a commercial district. The gridded street pattern has never been fully developed, though most of the streets and blocks match the 1854 plan. The gridded east-west street pattern began with a street named McNulty Street in the north, near where present-day Highway 38 is located along the northern edge of the city. The southernmost east-west street was Barrier Street. The town ran from Foster Street (present-day First Street) on the eastern side, to present-day Eighth Street.
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