How to Choose the Best Trucking Classes near Midland Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Midland AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Midland home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address 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 Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Midland AR, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 might also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Midland AR truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Midland AR area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Midland AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea 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 must be licensed in Arkansas and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next 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 getting the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly 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 comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Midland AR schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for real 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 reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Midland AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular 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 associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Midland AR schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Midland AR school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Midland AR employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Midland AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Best CDL Schools Midland Arkansas
Picking the right truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation 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 crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Best CDL Schools and wanting information on the topic CDL Classes Near Me. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to think about 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 select an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Midland AR.
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As of the census of 2000, there were 253 people, 96 households, and 72 families residing in the town. The population density was 305.3/km² (795.7/mi²). There were 113 housing units at an average density of 136.3/km² (355.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.44% White, 0.40% Black or African American, 1.19% Native American, and 1.98% from two or more races. 1.98% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 96 households out of which 38.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.5% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.0% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the town, the population was spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.