How to Pick the Right CDL Training School near Bald Knob Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Bald Knob AR. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Bald Knob home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to make certain 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 professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Bald Knob AR, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class 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 descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Bald Knob AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Bald Knob AR area are accredited due to 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 obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Bald Knob AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, 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 segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction 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 relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Bald Knob AR schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will furnish sufficient 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 necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Bald Knob AR schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different 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 giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Bald Knob AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. 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 convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Bald Knob 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 prepared to spend 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 obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Bald Knob AR employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Bald Knob AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Bald Knob AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Bald Knob Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Bald Knob, Arkansas
Bald Knob is a city in White County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 2,897 at the 2010 census. Located at the intersection of two of the state's natural regions, Bald Knob is often promoted as "where the Ozarks meet the Delta". Bald Knob is also a leading strawberry producer in the state, known for its yearly Strawberry Fest held during Mother's Day weekend. It was once known as the leading strawberry producer in the world. Bald Knob was established in 1881.
One point of interest in Bald Knob is Arkansas Traveler Hobbies, which is housed in the old Missouri Pacific Railroad depot at 400 E. Market Street. Antique passenger cars and an antique caboose are housed on the grounds and currently being restored. The hobby shop also houses a museum, which chronicles the history of Bald Knob, the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and White County. Another attraction is the historic Knob Field, just east of the Big Bald Knob Park.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,210 people, 1,257 households, and 878 families residing in the city. The population density was 715.5 people per square mile (276.0/km²). There were 1,395 housing units at an average density of 311.0 per square mile (120.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.91% White, 6.07% Black or African American, 0.62% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.21% from other races, and 1.56% from two or more races. 3.18% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
How To Get A Class A CDL Bald Knob AR
Choosing the right trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many 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 How To Get A Class A CDL. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker 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 decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Bald Knob AR.
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