How to Find the Right Truck Driver School near Nashville Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Nashville AR. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Nashville residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Nashville AR, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply 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 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). Following are short summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 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 need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Nashville AR truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Nashville AR area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent 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 recognize 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 mandates 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure 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 be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Nashville AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea 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 should be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting 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 time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Nashville AR schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best 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 ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving 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 necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable 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 Nashville AR schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Nashville AR schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Nashville AR school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Confirm 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 national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Nashville AR employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Nashville AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
CDL Driving Classes Nashville Arkansas
Picking the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Driving Classes and wanting information on the topic CDL License Requirements. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need to look into 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 choose an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Nashville AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Nashville is a city in Howard County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 4,627 at the 2010 census. The estimated population in 2015 was 4,479. The city is the county seat of Howard County.
Nashville is situated at the base of the Ouachita foothills and was once a major center of the peach trade in southwest Arkansas. Today the land is mostly given over to cattle and chicken farming. The world's largest dinosaur trackway was discovered near the town in 1983.
Mine Creek Baptist Church was built along the banks of Mine Creek by the Rev. Isaac Cooper Perkins (1790–1852) in the area where Nashville now stands around 1835. Settlers later established a post stop along the settlement roads in 1840,:902–903 and a post office incorporated in 1848. Michael Womack (1794–1861), a Tennessee native reputed to have killed the British general Edward Packenham during the War of 1812, settled in the area with his family in 1849. The area was then known by locals as "Mine Creek", but was also called "Hell's Valley" and "Pleasant Valley".