How to Select the Right Trucker School near Clarksville Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Clarksville AR. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Clarksville residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your objective 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 goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss 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 Clarksville 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 topic 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 kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Clarksville AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are several additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Clarksville AR area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost 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 know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively 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 top Clarksville AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding 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 frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Clarksville AR schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Clarksville AR schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than 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 flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Clarksville 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 several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are looking at 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 centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Clarksville AR school you choose 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 instructor should be prepared to spend 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 fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Clarksville AR employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Clarksville 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 need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Clarksville AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Clarksville Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Clarksville is a city in Johnson County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 9,178, up from 7,719 in 2000. As of 2016, the estimated population was 9,524. The city is the county seat of Johnson County. It is nestled between the Arkansas River and the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, and Interstate 40 and US Highway 64 intersect within the city limits. Clarksville-Johnson County is widely known for its peaches, scenic byways and abundance of natural outdoor recreational activities.
Clarksville is located in south-central Johnson County at 35°27′50″N 93°28′38″W / 35.46389°N 93.47722°W / 35.46389; -93.47722 (35.464006, -93.477089). The city is bordered to the south by the Arkansas River, although the city center is 3 miles (5 km) north of the river and west of Spadra Creek.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Clarksville has a total area of 19.2 square miles (49.7 km2), of which 18.5 square miles (47.9 km2) are land and 0.69 square miles (1.8 km2), or 3.66%, are water.
Truck Driving Classes Clarksville AR
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving Classes. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver 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 no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Clarksville AR.
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