How to Select the Right CDL Driving School near Wynne Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Wynne AR. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Wynne residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, 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 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 talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Wynne AR, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify 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 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. Some 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 Commercial Drivers License 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 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 need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Wynne AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are some more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Wynne AR area are accredited due to 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 required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Wynne AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Wynne AR schools provide training programs that range 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 already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Wynne AR schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Wynne AR schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Wynne AR school you choose offers 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 are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Wynne AR employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Wynne AR area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Wynne AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wynne Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Wynne is the county seat and largest city of Cross County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 8,367 at the 2010 Census. Nestled between the Arkansas Delta and Crowley's Ridge, Wynne is the closest city to the second largest state park in Arkansas, Village Creek State Park.
Wynne was named for Captain Jesse Watkins Wynne, a Texan who achieved the rank of Captain in the Civil War at the age of just 21. He was famed for leading a group of his captors up to the Confederate lines, where he then marched them to headquarters as his own prisoners.
In 1867, Captain Wynne moved to St. Francis County, Arkansas, and joined the finance company of Dennis & Beck. At that time, the Dennis & Beck company held savings for other companies and for individuals, but eventually, it became the Bank of Eastern Arkansas, and Wynne became its first president.
CDL Driver Training Wynne AR
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Driver Training. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Wynne AR.
Keep On Trucking in These Other Arkansas Locations