How to Decide on the Best Truck Driver Classes near Norphlet Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Norphlet AR. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Norphlet home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll receive the right training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills 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 choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover 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 Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Norphlet AR, an operator must obtain 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 pick a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 required to drive 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. 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Norphlet AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are several more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Norphlet AR area are accredited due to 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 obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Norphlet 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 pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, 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 considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Norphlet AR schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish ample 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important 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 be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Norphlet AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Norphlet AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Norphlet AR school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Norphlet AR employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Norphlet AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Top Truck Driving Schools Norphlet Arkansas
Selecting the right truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills 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 critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Top Truck Driving Schools and wanting information on the topic CDL Driving Schools. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need 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 enroll in an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Norphlet AR.
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Norphlet was called Jesse in the 1880s. The Post Office was created in 1891. The town originally centered around William G. Miles's Sawmill. The town was named for Nauphlet Goodwin. The name of the town was misspelled by the Postal Department when the Post Office was created. The word, Nauphlet, was written in long hand and looked like Norphlet to the people in the Postal Department. So, the papers for the post office were issued for Norphlet.
As of the census of 2000, there were 822 people, 311 households, and 236 families residing in the city. The population density was 398.0 people per square mile (153.3/km²). There were 343 housing units at an average density of 166.1/sq mi (64.0/km²). The racial make-up of the city was 94.77% White, 3.16% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 1.09% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races. 2.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 311 households out of which 38.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.7% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.1% were non-families. 22.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% 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 3.11.