How to Enroll in the Right Trucking School near Pocahontas Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Pocahontas AR. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Pocahontas home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective 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 purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Pocahontas AR, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class 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). Below are short descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed 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 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 more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Pocahontas AR truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are a few more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Pocahontas AR area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Pocahontas AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss 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 obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Pocahontas AR schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish ample 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 driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no replacement 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 fluctuates between 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 Pocahontas AR schools you are researching 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 driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict 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 Pocahontas AR schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Pocahontas AR school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Pocahontas AR employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Pocahontas AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out 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 need to be submitted.
How To Get A Truck License Pocahontas Arkansas
Selecting the right truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold 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 How To Get A Truck License and wanting information on the topic How To Get A Class B CDL. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary 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 want 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 select an independent CDL 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 get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Pocahontas AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Pocahontas is a city in Randolph County, Arkansas, United States, along the Black River. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 6,765. The city is the county seat of Randolph County.
The family of Dr. Ransom S. Bettis is given the credit for being the first settlers on the land now called Pocahontas. Dr. Bettis' daughter, Cinderella, married Thomas S. Drew, and lived on 800 acres where the town of Biggers now exists. Bettis and Drew led the founding of Pocahontas as the county seat of Randolph County.
Randolph County is famous for many "firsts"; Arkansas' oldest town, Davidsonville, was established in 1815. The first Arkansas post office was built in Davidsonville in 1817, and the first state courthouse was established in 1818. The earliest land claim was in 1809 near what is now Ravenden Springs. The first actual term of court convened in Arkansas was in 1815 in a part of Lawrence County that was given over to Randolph County. And the country's first overland route, the Natchitoches Trail, went through parts of Randolph County.