How to Find the Best Trucking School near Mount Pleasant Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Mount Pleasant AR. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Mount Pleasant residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal 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 objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address 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 Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Mount Pleasant AR, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses 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 driving school, we will highlight 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 explanations 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate 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. 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 specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Mount Pleasant AR truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Mount Pleasant AR area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost 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 certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Mount Pleasant AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good 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 teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Mount Pleasant AR schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Mount Pleasant AR schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Mount Pleasant AR schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Mount Pleasant AR school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out 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 employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Mount Pleasant AR employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Mount Pleasant AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
How To Get CDL Class B License Mount Pleasant Arkansas
Selecting the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get CDL Class B License and wanting information on the topic Commercial Truck Driving Schools. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. 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 trucker in Mount Pleasant AR.
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Mount Pleasant, Arkansas
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.34 square miles (8.66 km2), of which 3.33 square miles (8.63 km2) are land and 0.02 square miles (0.04 km2), or 0.43%, are water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 401 people, 166 households, and 113 families residing in the town. The population density was 44.7/km² (115.8/mi²). There were 182 housing units at an average density of 20.3/km² (52.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 99.25% White, 0.25% Asian, and 0.50% from two or more races. 1.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 166 households out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.4% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.9% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.00.