How to Find a Truck Driving School near Alexander Arkansas
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Alexander AR. Maybe it has always been your dream 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 provides excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Alexander home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Arkansas and within the United States, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Alexander AR, 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions for the two 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 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 CDL 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. 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 might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Alexander AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Alexander AR trucking schools are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested 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 calls for 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Alexander AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arkansas licensing authority 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 must be licensed in Arkansas and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Alexander AR schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the Alexander AR school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Alexander AR schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some Alexander AR truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, find out if the Alexander AR schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Alexander AR school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time 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 holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new profession in Alexander AR. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted in Alexander AR.
Why Did You Want to Be a Trucker?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a truck driver, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you should ready several approaches about how you want to answer them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Pick the Right CDL School Alexander AR
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new profession 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 many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Alexander AR.
A Bit About Alexander Arkansas
The .50 Beowulf is a rifle cartridge developed by Bill Alexander  of Alexander Arms for use in a modified AR-15 rifle.
The cartridge utilizes a rebated rim, sized to match the rim of the 7.62×39mm and 6.5mm Grendel rounds. The case body is very similar in dimensions to the .500 S&W Magnum revolver cartridge, being slightly longer and fully tapered for automatic feeding in the weapon.
The round is intended to improve stopping power greatly at short- to medium-range as compared to the standard 5.56×45mm NATO round. One of its advertised uses is at vehicle checkpoints, since the heavy bullet's flight path is not easily deflected by auto glass or standard vehicle body panels.
With normal bullet weights between 300 and 400 grains (19 and 26 g), overall cartridge length shorter than that of an AR-15 magazine well, and holding to pressures of 33,000 psi limited by the AR bolt strength system, the .50 Beowulf is best described as a low-velocity, heavy caliber, making its ballistics roughly equivalent to those of early .45-70 Government rounds rather than the higher pressure rounds tolerated by modern lever-action rifles such as the Marlin Model 1895. Adaptability is limited due to its use of the 7.62×39mm bolt face.
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