How to Find the Right CDL Driving School near Lavaca Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Lavaca AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Lavaca residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge 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? That is what we are going to address 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 Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Lavaca AR, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed 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 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 CDL 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. Some 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 needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Lavaca AR truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole 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 several additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Lavaca AR area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered 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 get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Lavaca AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing 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 discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Lavaca AR schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Lavaca AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive 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 associations with numerous 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 have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Lavaca AR schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted 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 of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Lavaca AR school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate 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 Lavaca AR employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Lavaca AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. 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 completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Lavaca AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Lavaca Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Lavaca (/ləˈvɑːkə/ (listen)) is a city in Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 Census the population was 2,289. The population was 1,825 at the 2000 census. Lavaca was incorporated in 1919.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,825 people, 674 households, and 529 families residing in the city. The population density was 849.9 people per square mile (327.7/km²). There were 718 housing units at an average density of 334.4 per square mile (128.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.12% White, 0.16% Black or African American, 1.26% Native American, 1.21% from other races, and 2.25% from two or more races. 2.14% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 674 households out of which 41.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.6% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.5% were non-families. 18.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.09.
How To Get a Class A Drivers License Lavaca AR
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital 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 Drivers License. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Lavaca AR.
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