How to Select the Best Trucking School near Frenchmans Bayou Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Frenchmans Bayou AR. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to examine before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Frenchmans Bayou residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations 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 discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Frenchmans Bayou AR, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify 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 address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 operate certain types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Frenchmans Bayou AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Frenchmans Bayou AR area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Frenchmans Bayou AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use 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 supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following 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 receiving the personalized instruction 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 teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Frenchmans Bayou AR schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will furnish sufficient 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Frenchmans Bayou AR schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with a wide range of 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 flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Frenchmans Bayou AR schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Frenchmans Bayou AR school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Frenchmans Bayou AR employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Frenchmans Bayou AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Truck Driving Programs Frenchmans Bayou Arkansas
Picking the ideal trucking school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving Programs and wanting information on the topic How To Become A CDL Driver. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Frenchmans Bayou AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Arkansas Highway 308
Highway 308 (AR 308, Ark. 308, and Hwy. 308) is a designation for two east–west state highways in the Arkansas Delta region of eastern Arkansas. One segment of 6.21 miles (9.99 km) runs east from U.S. Route 63 Business (US 63B) in Marked Tree to the Marked Tree Municipal Airport. A second route of 10.94 miles (17.61 km) begins at Highway 118 at Whitton and runs east to US 61 at Frenchman's Bayou. Both routes are maintained by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD).
Highway 308 begins at Highway 118 and runs south to Birdsong. The route then turns north to concur with Highway 77 briefly. AR 308 continues east to cross Interstate 55 before terminating at US 61 in Frenchman's Bayou.
The segment between Marked Tree and Highway 135 was adopted as a state highway by the Arkansas State Highway Commission on April 24, 1963. The spur route to the Marked Tree Municipal Airport was added to the system on June 24, 1970, and the business route was created on March 28, 1973.
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