How to Decide on the Right Truck Driving School near Waldo Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Waldo AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Waldo residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, 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 objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Waldo AR, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic 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 CDL is required to operate 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 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. A few 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 might also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Waldo AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are some additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Waldo AR area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Waldo AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking 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 instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Waldo AR schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish 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 operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Waldo AR schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver 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 instead of maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Waldo AR schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Waldo AR school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate 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 commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Waldo AR employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Waldo AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Waldo AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Waldo Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Waldo celebrated its 120th year as a city in 2007. The small community was once a booming rail city on the Cotton Belt train route. The city has a rail museum with various displays showing its rail history.
Waldo was once home to the Waldo High School Bulldogs basketball teams. Consistently these teams made playoffs and on numerous occasions won the state championship. The legacy of Waldo School will carry on in the community despite its closing in 2005.
Waldo is located in northwestern Columbia County at 33°21′07″N 93°17′40″W / 33.351944°N 93.294372°W / 33.351944; -93.294372. By U.S. Route 371 it is 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Magnolia, the county seat.
Truck Driver Training Schools Waldo AR
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets 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 Driver Training Schools. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want 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 choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated 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 Waldo AR.
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