CDL Driving Schools Saratoga AR

How to Choose the Right CDL Training School near Saratoga Arkansas

long haul tractor trailer in Saratoga ARCongratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Saratoga AR. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Saratoga home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?

tanker truck in Saratoga ARIn order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Saratoga AR, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and 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). Following are brief explanations of the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.

How to Assess a Truck Driver School

Questions to ask Saratoga AR truck driving schoolsOnce you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Saratoga AR trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Saratoga AR area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Saratoga AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Saratoga AR schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will furnish ample 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no substitute 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 fluctuates 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. Get in touch with the Saratoga AR schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Saratoga AR schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Saratoga AR school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Saratoga AR employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Saratoga AR area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.

Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Saratoga AR?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Saratoga Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Saratoga, Arkansas

Saratoga is an unincorporated community in Hempstead[2] and Howard counties, Arkansas, United States. Saratoga is located at the junction of Arkansas highways 32, 73 and 355, 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Tollette. Saratoga has a post office with ZIP code 71859.[3]

Residents are served by the Mineral Springs Saratoga School District. On July 1, 2004, the Saratoga School District consolidated into the Mineral Springs School District.[4] The local high school is currently Mineral Springs High School; the district previously operated Saratoga High School until its 2012 closure.[5]

CDL Driving Schools Saratoga AR

Saratoga AR long haul truckSelecting the right trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Driving Schools.  However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to consider 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 enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Saratoga AR.

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