How to Select the Right Trucking School near London Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near London AR. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your London residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and London AR, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify 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 discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the London AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the London AR area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will comply with 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 poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top London AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning 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 comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most London AR schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide plenty of 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential 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 become. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the London AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom 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 best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the London AR schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the London AR school you select provides 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 prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering 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 companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many London AR employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other London AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid 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 London AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the London Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2), of which 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (1.64%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 925 people, 359 households, and 268 families residing in the city. The population density was 385.5 people per square mile (148.8/km²). There were 413 housing units at an average density of 172.1 per square mile (66.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.6% White, 0.3% Black or African American, 1.41% Native American, 0.22% Asian, and 1.41% from two or more races. 1.0% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 359 households out of which 10.0% had children under the age of 1 living with them, 59.9% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.1% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 2.97.
Driving School Truck London AR
Choosing the right truck driving school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Driving School Truck. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to look into 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 firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in London AR.
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