How to Decide on the Best Trucking School near Dierks Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Dierks AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Dierks home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose 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 eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Dierks AR, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify 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 distinguishes 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 of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 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. 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 specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Dierks AR trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Dierks AR area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical 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 caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Dierks AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following 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 personalized attention 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 professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Dierks AR schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she 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 a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Dierks AR schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff 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 reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Dierks AR schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Dierks AR school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Dierks AR employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Dierks AR area technical or vocational 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 aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Tractor Trailer Training Dierks Arkansas
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to launching 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 vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Tractor Trailer Training and wanting information on the topic Train To Be A Truck Driver. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to look into 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 truck driving 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 choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Dierks AR.
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Dierks was formerly known as "Hardscrabble". It was then changed to "Dierks" after Hans Dierks, the oldest of four brothers who owned the Dierks Lumber and Coal Company. In 2007, Dierks celebrated its 100th birthday.
Severe thunderstorms that moved through southwest Arkansas on April 9, 2009, produced an EF3 tornado that destroyed the city's water treatment plant. A training technician from the Arkansas Rural Water Association helped the utility operators establish a temporary connection to the neighboring Nashville Rural Water System until the National Guard could deliver a pair of portable water purification systems. The Boy Scouts of America helped to give water bottles to families that were on the city water.
Dierks is located in north-central Howard County at 34°7′11″N 94°1′3″W / 34.11972°N 94.01750°W / 34.11972; -94.01750 (34.119793, -94.017452), along the southern edge of the Ouachita Mountains. It sits in the valley of Holly Creek, a southwest-flowing tributary of the Saline River. U.S. Route 70 passes through the city on Front Street and Main Avenue, leading northeast 36 miles (58 km) to Glenwood and southwest 21 miles (34 km) to De Queen. U.S. Route 278 also passes through Dierks, leading north out of town along Main Avenue with US 70 before turning northwest towards Wickes, 32 miles (51 km) from Dierks. US 278 runs east out of Dierks on 4th Street and Massey Avenue, eventually traveling 19 miles (31 km) southeast to Nashville.