How to Pick the Right Truck Driving Classes near Saint Joe Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Saint Joe AR. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Saint Joe home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Saint Joe AR, an operator must obtain 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 subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver 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 together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Saint Joe AR truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Saint Joe AR area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Saint Joe AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent 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 make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching 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 talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher 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 regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Saint Joe AR schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, 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 necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Saint Joe AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Saint Joe AR schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd 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 reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Saint Joe AR school you select provides 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 spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask 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 Saint Joe AR employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Saint Joe AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Truck Driver Classes Saint Joe Arkansas
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new profession 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 offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driver Classes and wanting information on the topic CDL Truck Driver Training. However, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. 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 in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Saint Joe AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
St. Joe, Arkansas
The town of St. Joe, Arkansas, was founded a few miles north of the Buffalo River around 1860 by Bill Campbell, Ben Henley, Sr., Dr. George Turney, Captain Harry Love, Decatur Robinson, and Matt Tyson. Mill Creek, near the current post office on U.S. Highway 65, was the original town location. Wagon trains traveled from the town to Springfield, Missouri, where produce was sold and goods were purchased and brought back to the stores. The History and Folklore of Searcy County Arkansas states that St. Joe was originally called Monkey Run. The area came by its current name around 1900, when six miners from St. Joseph, Missouri, received the largest quantity of mail to come into the post office. The outpost eventually became known as St. Joe, Arkansas. Mines, and rumors of mines, feature largely in the story of St. Joe's past. It is worth noting that one of the nearby settlements is named Silver Hill. According to one fable, there is a “Lost Silver Mine” that was reputed to be fabulously rich in the late 1800s, believed to be located somewhere between Calf Creek and Bear Creek and worked by an Indian named Woodward. (http://gwiz.co//treasures/arkansas.php) A news article in the Marshall Mountain Wave, printed Friday, May 30, 1924, stated that the lost silver mine had been found by a girl searching for a lost cow. The opening, covered by vegetation, was in a gulch. The silver and mining equipment was claimed to have been found, sitting for 75 years in the mine.
Historian James Johnson claims that the Lost Silver Mine does not exist, despite many stories. He says that there was an “Indian Woodard” whose descendants still live in Arkansas, but that most of the remaining legend is untrue.
The railroad arrived in St. Joe in 1902 and operated until 1946. Mined ores were shipped from St. Joe via the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad, whose depot, faithfully restored to its early 20th-century appearance, sits on U.S. Highway 65 in the middle of the present town of St. Joe. The St. Joe Lime and Crushed Rock Company flourished with the mining boom, operating in a quarry just west of town. It is said that St. Joe set the standard for lime and crushed limestone throughout the world at this time. Johnson says that St. Joe's heyday was during World War I with the mines. The zinc, lead, and copper deposits in the area are in large lumps, not in veins. Therefore, one cannot hit a vein and mine continuously. One depletes the one concentration, then has to go look for another.