How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Friendship Arkansas
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Friendship AR. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Friendship home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in Arkansas and within the USA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Friendship AR, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 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 drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Friendship AR truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are some additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Friendship AR truck driver schools are accredited due to the stringent 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. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed 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 Friendship AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Friendship AR schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, 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 an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the Friendship AR school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide sufficient 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 operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Friendship AR schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain Friendship AR truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of 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 giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the Friendship AR schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Friendship AR school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession in Friendship AR. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. 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 need to be submitted in Friendship AR.
Why Did You Want to Become a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask truck driving prospects is "What made you choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a truck driver, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should ready a number of strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Select the Best CDL School Friendship AR
Selecting the right truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn 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 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 want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases 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 firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Friendship AR.
A Bit About Friendship Arkansas
Friendship is a town in Hot Spring County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 176 at the 2010 census, down from 206 at the 2000 census.
Friendship is located in southern Hot Spring County at 34°13′26″N 93°0′11″W / 34.22389°N 93.00306°W / 34.22389; -93.00306 (34.223845, -93.003182), on high ground half a mile (0.8 km) north of the Ouachita River. U.S. Route 67 passes through the center of town, leading northeast 16 miles (26 km) to Malvern, the county seat, and southwest 10 miles (16 km) to Arkadelphia. Interstate 30 passes just northwest of the town limits, with access from Exit 83. I-30 leads northeast 60 miles (97 km) to Little Rock and southwest 85 miles (137 km) to Texarkana.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town of Friendship has a total area of 0.73 square miles (1.9 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 206 people, 79 households, and 57 families residing in the town. The population density was 280.4 inhabitants per square mile (109.0/km²). There were 83 housing units at an average density of 113.0 per square mile (43.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 99.51% White, 0.49% from other races. 1.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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