How to Find the Best CDL Training School near Lake City Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Lake City AR. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Lake City home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Lake City AR, an operator must 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 subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 operate 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. Several 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Lake City AR truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several more factors 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 driver schools in the Lake City AR area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount 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 satisfy 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 negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Lake City AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Lake City AR schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained 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 an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide ample 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute 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 between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Lake City AR schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Lake City AR schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Lake City AR school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain 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 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 driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Lake City AR employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Lake City 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 least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Commercial Driving School Lake City Arkansas
Choosing the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Commercial Driving School and wanting information on the topic Class A Trucking School. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker 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 no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Lake City AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Lake City, Arkansas
Lake City is a city in Craighead County, Arkansas, United States, along the St. Francis River. The population was 2,082 as of the 2010 census. It is included in the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. It serves as a second county seat, serving the Eastern District of Craighead County (Jonesboro serves the Western District).
Lake City is located in eastern Craighead County at 35°49′4″N 90°26′24″W / 35.81778°N 90.44000°W / 35.81778; -90.44000 (35.817866, -90.439927), along the west bank of the St. Francis River. It is 16 miles (26 km) east of downtown Jonesboro.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.1 square miles (7.9 km2), of which 3.0 square miles (7.8 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 1.35%, is water.
Business Results 1 - 10 of 2