How to Select the Best CDL Driving School near Ravenden Springs Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Ravenden Springs AR. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Ravenden Springs residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Ravenden Springs AR, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify 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 focus on Class A and Class 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 descriptions for the two 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 greater 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. Some 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 require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Ravenden Springs AR truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are some additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Ravenden Springs AR area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Ravenden Springs AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must 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 not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Ravenden Springs AR schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will provide plenty of 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Ravenden Springs AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous 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 choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Ravenden Springs AR schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Ravenden Springs AR school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Ravenden Springs AR employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Ravenden Springs AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
CDL School Near Me Ravenden Springs 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 skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape 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 CDL School Near Me and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving Classes. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving 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 many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Ravenden Springs AR.
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Ravenden Springs, Arkansas
As of the census of 2000, there were 137 people, 63 households, and 38 families residing in the town. The population density was 46.0/km² (119.4/mi²). There were 83 housing units at an average density of 27.9/km² (72.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 100.00% White.
There were 63 households out of which 23.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 33.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.79.
In the town, the population was spread out with 18.2% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 24.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 72.3 males.