How to Pick the Right CDL Driving School near Maumelle Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Maumelle AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Maumelle residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll get the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Maumelle AR, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 needed 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Maumelle AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are several more points that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Maumelle AR area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Maumelle AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arkansas licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Maumelle AR schools provide training programs that range 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 stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital 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 criteria, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Maumelle AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Maumelle AR schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Maumelle AR school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio 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 low job placement rate or not many Maumelle AR employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Maumelle AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Class B CDL Training Cost Maumelle Arkansas
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an essential 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 a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class B CDL Training Cost and wanting information on the topic How To Obtain Class A CDL. However, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider 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 truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Maumelle AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Maumelle is a city in Pulaski County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 17,163. The city is located northwest of Little Rock, bordering the opposite shore of the Arkansas River and is part of the Little Rock metropolitan area.
Maumelle was founded by Jess Odom with federal assistance from the Urban Growth and New Community Development Act. Maumelle was the location of the second oldest Target Corporation distribution center. The center closed in 2009
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.05 square miles (31.2 km2), of which 8.8 square miles (23 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) (5.07%) is water.
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