How to Pick the Right Truck Driving School near Mountain Home Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Mountain Home AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Mountain Home residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Mountain Home AR, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following 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. A few of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate 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 needed to operate 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. Several 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 require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Mountain Home AR truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Mountain Home AR area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess 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 be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Mountain Home AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction 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 be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Mountain Home AR schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good 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 driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs 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 Mountain Home AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different 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 surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Mountain Home AR schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Mountain Home AR school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular 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 commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Make sure 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 national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Mountain Home AR employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Mountain Home AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Mountain Home AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Mountain Home Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Mountain Home is a city in, and the county seat of, Baxter County, Arkansas, United States, in the southern Ozark Mountains near the northern state border with Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 12,448. A total of 41,307 persons lived within the city and micropolitan area combined, which encompasses the majority of Baxter County.
Mountain Home is located in northern Arkansas at 36°20′10″N 92°22′56″W / 36.33611°N 92.38222°W / 36.33611; -92.38222 (36.336248, -92.382279). It is the center of the Twin Lakes area, with Norfork Lake 15 minutes to the east and Bull Shoals Lake 20 minutes to the northwest. It is located within the Ozarks mountain range, in the Salem Plateau region.
The city is located within 15 to 20 minutes of three rivers: the Buffalo National River, the White River and the North Fork River, which features the world-renowned Norfork Tailwater. These make the Mountain Home area one of the nation's top freshwater fishing destinations. Some creeks in the area with fishing access are Fall Creek, Dodd Creek, and Hicks Creek, with Fall Creek being the largest.
Training For CDL Mountain Home AR
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Training For CDL. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to think about 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 choose an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. 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 trucker in Mountain Home AR.
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