Get CDL License Charleston AR

How to Select the Right Trucker School near Charleston Arkansas

long haul tractor trailer in Charleston ARCongrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Charleston AR. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Charleston home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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?

tanker truck in Charleston ARTo operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Charleston AR, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries of the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 needed 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.

How to Research a Truck Driving School

Questions to ask Charleston AR truck driving schoolsAfter you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Charleston AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are a few more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Charleston AR area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Charleston AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be 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 be critical of any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Charleston AR schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish lots 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary between 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 Charleston AR schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of trucking 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 provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Charleston AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Charleston AR school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend 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 commitments.

Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Charleston AR employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Charleston AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.

Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Charleston AR?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Charleston Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Charleston, Arkansas

Charleston is a city in Franklin County, Arkansas, United States, and (along with Ozark) one of the two county seats of Franklin County.[3] It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,522 at the 2010 census,[4] down from 2,965 in 2000.

In 1954, Charleston was the first school district in the former Confederate States to implement school integration in response to Brown v. Board of Education. On July 27, 1954, the school board, including President Howard Madison Orsburn, George Hairston, Archibald Schaffer, Herbert Shumate, and Homer Keith, unanimously voted to "disband the Colored School and admit the Colored children into the grade and high school when classes open for the fall semester." Accordingly, when the schools opened on August 23, 11 black children were in attendance alongside 480 whites.[6] School Superintendent Woodie Haynes made an agreement with the local press not to cover the event, and stonewalled any outside reporters that asked questions.[7] The decision to integrate had financial benefits, as the district had been paying a considerable sum to transport black high school students to Fort Smith, and were able to close the old Rosenwald school. Charleston suffered some discrimination from other schools and the state; many schools refused to play football against them and the band was denied the opportunity to play in some band competitions. In 1961, the first two black students to graduate from Charleston were Barbara (Williams) Dotson and Joe Ferguson.[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, Charleston has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.4 km2), of which 4.3 square miles (11.1 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2), or 2.53%, is water.[4]

Get CDL License Charleston AR

Charleston AR long haul truckPicking the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local 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 vital to a new driver’s success.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in Get CDL License.  But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to look into 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 trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Charleston AR.

Keep On Trucking in These Other Arkansas Locations

  • A Class Driving School Branch AR
  • Truck School Near Me Pocahontas AR
  • How To Be A Trucker Osceola AR
  • How To Get Class B License Arkadelphia AR
  • Trucking Schools Near Me Timbo AR
  • Commercial Drivers License Classes Rison AR
  • CDL School Rector AR
  • CDL Class Rogers AR
  • Truck Drivers School Lepanto AR
  • Getting a Class A CDL Hoxie AR
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