How to Choose the Right Truck Driver School near Piggott Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Piggott AR. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Piggott home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Piggott AR, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 drive 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
After you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Piggott AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are a few more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Piggott AR area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Piggott AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next 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 obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Piggott AR schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria 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 regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual 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 training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Piggott AR schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from some 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 offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Piggott AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Piggott AR school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Piggott AR employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Piggott AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Class For CDL License Piggott Arkansas
Selecting the right truck driving school is a critical 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 crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class For CDL License and wanting information on the topic Class A License School. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may 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 driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Piggott AR.
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Piggott is a city in Clay County, Arkansas, United States, one of that county's two seats (Corning is the other). It is the northern terminus of the Arkansas segment of the Crowley's Ridge Parkway, a National Scenic Byway. As of the 2010 census, Piggott's population was 3,849. The town was founded by William N. Barron and named after his sister (Sarah Ann, wife of John Piggott).
Piggott is perhaps best known for its association with American writer and Nobel laureate Ernest Hemingway, whose second wife Pauline Pfeiffer was the daughter of prominent local landowner and businessman Paul Pfeiffer. After meeting and marrying in Paris in the late 1920s, Hemingway and Pauline made frequent and lengthy visits to her parents' home in Piggott, where Ernest Hemingway wrote portions of A Farewell to Arms, and other works. The Pfeiffer House and Carriage House are now preserved as the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, run by Arkansas State University.
The town was mentioned in the 1990s television sitcom Evening Shade, set in Arkansas. The high school football team coached by "Wood Newton" (played by Burt Reynolds) celebrated when it tied Piggott High in a game, which it almost always lost.