How to Enroll in the Right Truck Driver School near Bauxite Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Bauxite AR. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Bauxite residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select 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 commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Bauxite AR, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type 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 summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 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 required to operate 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Bauxite AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are some more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Bauxite AR area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain 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 mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. 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 clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Bauxite AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arkansas licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Bauxite AR schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained 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 important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide lots of 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Bauxite AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Bauxite AR schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Bauxite AR school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Bauxite AR employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Bauxite AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Bauxite AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Bauxite Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Bauxite is a town in Saline County, Arkansas, United States. Located within Central Arkansas, the town is named for bauxite, the source ore for aluminium, which was found in abundant quantities in the area and became a source of aluminium refining. The town's population boomed during expanded aluminium production during World War II and shrank rapidly with output of the ore. Bauxite was incorporated as a town in 1973. The population was 487 at the 2010 census.
The ore for which the town is named was discovered in the area in the early 1890s and mined by the General Bauxite Company until 1905, when the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, a northeastern aluminium refining company, purchased vast tracts of land in Saline County after learning of the high-quality ore that was being shipped from the area. The company bought out the local producers of the ore, including the General Bauxite Company. Pittsburgh Reduction would go on to incorporate as the Aluminum Company of America, or ALCOA.
Production of the ore rose rapidly, growing from 200,000 short tons (180,000 t) in 1914 during World War I, to 560,000 short tons (510,000 t) by war's end in 1918. With decreased demand and an expanded source base in South America, Arkansas production levels fluctuated with demand, dropping as low as 60,000 short tons (54,000 t) per annum in the mid-1930s.
Truck Classes Bauxite AR
Selecting the right truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation 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 a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Classes. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Bauxite AR.
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