How to Choose a CDL Training School near Armorel Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Armorel AR. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Armorel home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll obtain the right education. 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 objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Arkansas and within the USA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Armorel AR, we will focus on Class A and 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). Below are short explanations of 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. 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 required 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. Some 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Armorel AR truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Armorel AR truck driver schools are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots 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 course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Armorel AR schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several 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 supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Armorel AR schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of 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 important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to visit the Armorel AR school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary among 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. Contact the Armorel AR schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain Armorel AR truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the Armorel AR schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Armorel AR school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend 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 Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession in Armorel AR. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted in Armorel AR.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking job, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a truck driver, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare some strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Ideal CDL School Armorel AR
Selecting the right trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need 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 school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Armorel AR.
A Bit About Armorel Arkansas
Armorel is an unincorporated community located in Mississippi County, Arkansas. A largely rural area with most of its land devoted to forests and farms, population estimates are variously given as between 300 and 500 people. Most of the town lies between Arkansas Highway 18 and Arkansas Highway 312.
The town was founded in 1899 by lumber magnate and president of Lee Wilson and Company, R.E.L. Wilson as one of his many company holdings. Wilson was an eclectic and colorful figure with vast land holdings in the Delta area after the Civil War. Also a big believer in education, Wilson was one of the original trustees of Arkansas State University, then A & M College. He sat on the board from 1917 until his death in 1933.
The town's name was formed from the abbreviations of Arkansas and Missouri, along with the first three initials of its founder, R.E.L. Wilson.
Public education for early childhood, elementary and secondary education is available from the Armorel School District that leads to graduation from Armorel High School.
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