How to Select the Right CDL Training School near De Queen Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near De Queen AR. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your De Queen home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder 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?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and De Queen AR, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 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 discuss Class A and Class 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 brief explanations of 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. 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate 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. 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the De Queen AR trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are a few additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the De Queen AR area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of De Queen AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arkansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of De Queen AR schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. 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 ability to train them.
Plenty of 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 driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time differs between 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. Check with the De Queen AR schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the De Queen 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 third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the De Queen AR school you enroll in provides 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 have it mastered. And if you’re still employed 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? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many De Queen AR employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other De Queen AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near De Queen AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the De Queen Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
De Queen, Arkansas
De Queen (/diː kwiːn/ DEE-kween) is a city and the county seat of Sevier County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 6,629 at the 2010 census. The placename is the anglicization of the family name of the Dutch merchant and railway financier, Jan de Goeijen (1861–1944). De Goeijen was reportedly rather unhappy with the deformation of his name.
De Queen hosts a campus of the Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas. The college also provides non-credit coursework in adult education: GED classes, ESL training, test preparation, and computer literacy.
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,629 people in De Queen. The median age was 29. The ethnic and racial composition of the population was 36.7% non-Hispanic white, 5.6% non-Hispanic black, 2.3% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 35.1% reporting some other race and 4.2% reporting two or more races. 53.5% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
CDL License Classes De Queen AR
Picking the right truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL License Classes. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in De Queen AR.
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