How to Choose the Right CDL Driving School near Keiser Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Keiser AR. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Keiser home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to make sure 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 examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Keiser AR, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Keiser AR truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Keiser AR area are accredited because of the stringent 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 required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, 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 measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Keiser AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, 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 be critical of any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Keiser AR schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class 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 instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional 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 may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to 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 ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Keiser AR schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of truck driving 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 offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Keiser AR schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Keiser AR school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit 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 accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Keiser AR employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Keiser AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid 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 Keiser AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Keiser Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Originally known as Savage Crossing, Keiser was one of several cities established by prominent late-19th century planter and land developer Robert E. Lee Wilson. The city, which served as a logging outpost and railroad stop on the rail line that connected Wilson and Jonesboro, was named for Wilson's friend, John Keiser. After the forests had been cleared, the city transitioned from a logging town to an agrarian community. The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station established a research farm near Keiser in 1957, and built a regional headquarters in Keiser, the Northeast Research and Extension Center, 1980.
Keiser is located at 35°40′28″N 90°5′46″W / 35.67444°N 90.09611°W / 35.67444; -90.09611 (35.674411, -90.096084). The city is concentrated along a stretch of Arkansas Highway 181 southwest of Osceola and northwest of Wilson. Interstate 55 passes just east of the city.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Keiser has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
How To Obtain a Class B License Keiser AR
Selecting the right truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Obtain a Class B License. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need 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 driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Keiser AR.
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