How to Choose the Right Truck Driving School near Fayetteville Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Fayetteville AR. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get 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 consider before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Fayetteville residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Fayetteville AR, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one 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 address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are short descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 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 needed to drive 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 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 drive certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Fayetteville AR truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Fayetteville AR area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered 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 caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Fayetteville AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. 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 numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following 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 receiving 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 professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Fayetteville AR schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish sufficient 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Fayetteville AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Fayetteville AR schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Fayetteville AR school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Fayetteville AR employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Fayetteville AR area trade or technical 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 assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Fayetteville AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Fayetteville Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Fayetteville is the third-largest city in Arkansas and county seat of Washington County. The city is centrally located within the county and has been home of the University of Arkansas since the institution's founding in 1871. Fayetteville is on the outskirts of the Boston Mountains, deep within the Ozarks. Known as Washington until 1829, the city was named after Fayetteville, Tennessee, from which many of the settlers had come. It was incorporated on November 3, 1836 and was rechartered in 1867. The four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 105th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city had a population of 73,580 at the 2010 Census.
Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas, the state's largest university. When classes are in session, thousands of students on campus dramatically change the city's demographics. Thousands of Arkansas Razorbacks alumni and fans travel to Fayetteville to attend football, basketball, and baseball games. The University's men's track and field program has won 41 national championships to date. Fayetteville was named the third best place to live in the United States in the 2016 U.S. News Best Places To Live Rankings, and one of the best places to retire in the South.Forbes also ranked Fayetteville as the 24th-best city for business and careers in 2016. Lonely Planet named Fayetteville among its top 20 places to visit in the South in 2016. The city hosts the Walmart Shareholders Meetings each year at the Bud Walton Arena.
In 1828, George McGarrah settled at Big Spring with his family on the modern day corner of Spring and Willow, founding the town of Washington, and starting work on the courthouse. On October 17, Washington County was established, Washington chosen as the county seat. The Washington Courthouse was finished in 1829, and also contained the post office. Later in the year Postmaster Larkin Newton changed the name to the Fayetteville Courthouse, to avoid confusing with Washington, Hempstead County. Two councilmen selected to name the city were from Fayetteville, Tennessee, which was itself named for Fayetteville, North Carolina (where some of its earliest residents had lived before moving to Tennessee). That original Fayetteville was named for General Lafayette, a French general who helped the colonies gain independence in the American Revolutionary War.
Class B License Training Fayetteville AR
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class B License Training. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe 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 in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Fayetteville AR.
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