How to Choose a CDL Training School near Keiser Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Keiser AR. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Keiser home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Arkansas and within the United States, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Keiser AR, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 drive 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 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 operate specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Keiser AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Keiser AR truck driver schools are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical 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. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Keiser 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 history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arkansas licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Keiser AR schools offer training courses that range 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 already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the Keiser AR school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Keiser AR schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of Keiser AR truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the Keiser AR schools you are looking at 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 moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Keiser AR school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared 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 obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new profession in Keiser AR. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted in Keiser AR.
Why Did You Want to Be a Trucker?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a truck driver, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you should ready some strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Right Truck Driving School Keiser AR
Selecting the right truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning 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 several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to look into 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 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 receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Keiser AR.
A Bit About Keiser Arkansas
Keiser is a city in Mississippi County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 808 at the 2000 census.
First known as Savage Crossing, the area was a densely wooded village in the late 19th century. In 1912, Keiser, named for John Keiser, became the hub of a timber railway leading to a large Osceola lumber mill. The town's first general store operated in a boxcar, soon followed by Keiser Supply and a Lee Wilson & Company gin.
Keiser is located at 35°40′28″N 90°5′46″W / 35.67444°N 90.09611°W / 35.67444; -90.09611 (35.674411, -90.096084).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2), all of it land.
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