How to Decide on the Best Trucking School near Jonesboro Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Jonesboro AR. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Jonesboro residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose 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 CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Jonesboro AR, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations for the two 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Jonesboro AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Jonesboro AR area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Jonesboro AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing department 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 employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding 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 comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Jonesboro AR schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained 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 important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied 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 lots 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators 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 varies among schools, a reasonable 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 Jonesboro AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with a wide range of 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Jonesboro AR schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Jonesboro AR school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing 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 referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Jonesboro AR employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Jonesboro AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
How To Get A CDL License Jonesboro Arkansas
Picking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get A CDL License and wanting information on the topic Student Truck Driver. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Jonesboro AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Jonesboro is a city located on Crowley's Ridge in the northeastern corner of the U.S. State of Arkansas. Jonesboro is one of two county seats of Craighead County and the home of Arkansas State University. According to the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 71,551 and is the fifth-largest city in Arkansas.
Jonesboro is the cultural and economic center of northeastern Arkansas. It is the principal city of the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2010, the Jonesboro metropolitan area had a population of 121,026 and a population of 163,116 in the Jonesboro-Paragould Combined Statistical Area.
The Jonesboro area was first inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, historic tribes included the Osage, the Caddo, and the Quapaw. The name of the state of Arkansas comes from the Quapaw language. French and Spanish traders and trappers had relations with these groups.
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