How to Enroll in the Right Truck Driver School near Lake Village Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Lake Village AR. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Lake Village home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow 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? The answer to that question is what we are going to address 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 Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Lake Village AR, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving 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). Below are brief explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive 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 needed to operate 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Lake Village AR trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Lake Village AR area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Lake Village AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record 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 relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Arkansas licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking 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 teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Lake Village AR schools offer training programs that run from 3 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 imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. 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 provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Lake Village AR schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Lake Village AR schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Lake Village AR school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio 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 poor job placement rate or few Lake Village AR employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Lake Village AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Lake Village AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Lake Village Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Lake Village, Arkansas
Lake Village is a city in Chicot County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 2,575 at the 2010 census. The city is the county seat of Chicot County. which is located in the Arkansas Delta. Lake Village is named for its location on Lake Chicot, an oxbow lake formed from the Mississippi River.
According to legend, the remains of Hernando de Soto might be buried under Lake Chicot. His expedition visited Guachoya, a native village along the edge of the lake, which is recorded as the site of his death. See List of sites and peoples visited by the Hernando de Soto Expedition.
Lake Village has nine properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Carlton House, Chicot County Courthouse, Sam Epstein House, Gregory Dipping Vat, Lake Village Commercial Historic District, Lake Village Confederate Monument, Lake Village Post Office, Dr. E.P. McGehee Infirmary, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery (Historic Section), and the John Tushek Building. The nearby Lakeport Plantation is also listed; it is the only antebellum plantation home in the state to be located near the Mississippi River.
Class A Trucking School Lake Village AR
Choosing the right truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold 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 Class A Trucking School. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want 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 enroll in an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several 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 our country move as a professional trucker in Lake Village AR.
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