How to Pick the Right CDL Driving Classes near Fairfield Bay Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Fairfield Bay AR. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Fairfield Bay home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective 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 decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Fairfield Bay AR, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Fairfield Bay AR trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Fairfield Bay AR area are accredited due to the stringent 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Fairfield Bay AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal 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 insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Fairfield Bay AR schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will furnish sufficient 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Fairfield Bay AR schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Fairfield Bay AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. 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 convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Fairfield Bay AR school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating 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 companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Fairfield Bay AR employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Fairfield Bay AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Trucking Classes Fairfield Bay Arkansas
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Trucking Classes and wanting information on the topic Schools For Truck Driving. But first and foremost, you must receive 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 need to think about 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 enroll in an independent trucking 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 no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Fairfield Bay AR.
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Fairfield Bay, Arkansas
Fairfield Bay is a city in Cleburne and Van Buren counties in the northern part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The population was 2,338 at the 2010 census. The population in its portion in Van Buren County, which accounts for the bulk of the city limits, made the city the most populous in Van Buren County as of the 2000 census, but with a slight decline in population, lost the distinction to Clinton as of 2010.
Fairfield Bay is located in eastern Van Buren County at 35°36′07″N 92°15′51″W / 35.602031°N 92.264164°W / 35.602031; -92.264164, extending eastward into Cleburne County. It is located on hills overlooking the northern shore of Greers Ferry Lake, a reservoir on the Little Red River, a tributary of the White River which flows to the Mississippi.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.3 square miles (39.7 km2), of which 15.3 square miles (39.5 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.36%, is water.