How to Select the Right Truck Driving School near Lepanto Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Lepanto AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Lepanto residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That 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 CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Lepanto AR, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 required to drive 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. A few 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Lepanto AR trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Lepanto AR area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty 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 program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Lepanto AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher 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 regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train 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 requires time. Most Lepanto AR schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing 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 great truck driver school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Lepanto AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Lepanto AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Lepanto AR school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. 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 graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Lepanto AR employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Lepanto AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Lepanto AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Lepanto Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Lepanto is a city in Poinsett County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 1,893 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. Lepanto was named for the Greek seaport of Lepanto, site of a great crusade sea battle in 1571. Lepanto was a site for the filming of the TV movie version of John Grisham's book A Painted House.
As of the 2010 census Lepanto had a population of 1,893. The ethnic and racial makeup of the population was 79.3% non-Hispanic white, 14.8% African-American, 0.1% Native American, 0.1 Asian, 1.7% reporting two or more races, including 1.2% reporting being white and African-American, and 4.3% Hispanic.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,133 people, 851 households, and 595 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,459.4 people per square mile (564.1/km²). There were 891 housing units at an average density of 609.6/sq mi (235.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.37% White, 15.56% Black or African American, 0.05% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 0.98% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. 2.11% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Truck Drivers School Lepanto AR
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Drivers School. However, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds 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 CDL 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 choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Lepanto AR.
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