How to Pick the Right CDL Driving School near Nashville Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Nashville AR. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to think about before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Nashville home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address 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 lawfully within the USA and Nashville AR, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 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 certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Nashville AR truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are several more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Nashville AR area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated 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 be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated 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 Nashville AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal attention 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 claims 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 skillfully requires time. The majority of Nashville AR schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of 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 keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will provide ample 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Nashville AR schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit 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 prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Nashville AR schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Nashville AR school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Nashville AR employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Nashville AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. 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 need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Nashville AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Nashville Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Nashville is a city in Howard County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 4,627 at the 2010 census. The estimated population in 2015 was 4,479. The city is the county seat of Howard County.
Nashville is situated at the base of the Ouachita foothills and was once a major center of the peach trade in southwest Arkansas. Today the land is mostly given over to cattle and chicken farming. The world's largest dinosaur trackway was discovered near the town in 1983.
Mine Creek Baptist Church was built along the banks of Mine Creek by the Rev. Isaac Cooper Perkins (1790–1852) in the area where Nashville now stands around 1835. Settlers later established a post stop along the settlement roads in 1840,:902–903 and a post office incorporated in 1848. Michael Womack (1794–1861), a Tennessee native reputed to have killed the British general Edward Packenham during the War of 1812, settled in the area with his family in 1849. The area was then known by locals as "Mine Creek", but was also called "Hell's Valley" and "Pleasant Valley".
Training For Truck Drivers Nashville AR
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught 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 Training For Truck Drivers. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Nashville AR.
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