How to Choose the Right Trucking Classes near Summers Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Summers AR. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Summers residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Summers AR, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will address 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). Below are brief summaries for the 2 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. 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 required 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 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 drive certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Summers AR truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Summers AR area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Summers AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt 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 should be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Summers AR schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly 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 level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Summers AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with many different 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 be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Summers AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Summers AR school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin 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 grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Summers AR employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Summers AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Trucking School Summers Arkansas
Choosing the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Trucking School and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving CDL Training. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Summers AR.
Truck On in These Other Arkansas Locations
Summers is an unincorporated community in far western Washington County, Arkansas, United States. The community has a postal designation (ZIP code 72769) and the population of the Summers zip code area was 942 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, Arkansas-Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Summers is in the Ozarks on the southern edge of the Springfield Plateau near the Boston Mountains. The community is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 62 with Arkansas Highway 59 about 2 miles (3.2 km) east of the Oklahoma border. It is just east of Ballard Creek.
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