How to Pick the Best Truck Driver Classes near Mount Holly Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Mount Holly AR. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Mount Holly residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Mount Holly AR, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 select a truck driver school, we will focus on 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 descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 drive certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Mount Holly AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Mount Holly AR area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered 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 caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Mount Holly AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. 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 attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Mount Holly AR schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important 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 criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great 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 actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though 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 Mount Holly AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with numerous 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Mount Holly AR schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Mount Holly AR school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Mount Holly AR employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Mount Holly AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Cost Of CDL Training Mount Holly Arkansas
Choosing the right trucking school is an essential first step to starting 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 offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Cost Of CDL Training and wanting information on the topic Certified CDL Truck Driving Schools. However, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Mount Holly AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
List of state highways in Arkansas
The following is a list of state highways in Arkansas. The state does not use a numbering convention. Generally the two-digit odd numbered highways run north-south with a few exceptions; and even-numbered two-digit state highways run east-west with a few exceptions.
Arkansas has long had a stigma of poor roads. The state has received the designation of "worst roads in America" from several publications.Interstate 30 and Interstate 40 had historically drawn the most ire from truckers nationwide until a large construction plan was completed on I-40. The rationale for this is rooted deep in Arkansas history, primarily sprouting from the state's insistence on using "road districts" rather than a state highway commission, and a lack of comprehensive state highway plan until the formation of the State Highway Commission in 1923.