How to Select a CDL Driving School near Lepanto Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Lepanto AR. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Lepanto home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll receive the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully 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 choose a truck driving school near Lepanto AR, we will focus on Class A and 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). Following are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is required 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Lepanto AR truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Lepanto AR truck driving schools are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Lepanto AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher 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 be critical of any school that professes 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. Most Lepanto AR schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the Lepanto AR school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Lepanto AR schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of Lepanto AR trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with a wide range of 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get 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 Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, find out if the Lepanto AR schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Lepanto AR school you enroll in offers 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 teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career in Lepanto AR. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? 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 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 Lepanto AR.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Truck Driver?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a truck driver, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must organize some ideas about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Right CDL School Lepanto AR
Choosing the right truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to look into 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 firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Lepanto AR.
A Bit About Lepanto Arkansas
Lepanto is a city in Poinsett County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 1,893 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. Lepanto was named for the Greek seaport of Lepanto, site of a great crusade sea battle in 1571. Lepanto was a site for the filming of the TV movie version of John Grisham's book A Painted House.
Lepanto is located at 35°36′38″N 90°20′6″W / 35.61056°N 90.33500°W / 35.61056; -90.33500 (35.610506, -90.335008).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), all land.
As of the 2010 census Lepanto had a population of 1,893. The ethnic and racial makeup of the population was 79.3% non-Hispanic white, 14.8% African-American, 0.1% Native American, 0.1 Asian, 1.7% reporting two or more races, including 1.2% reporting being white and African-American, and 4.3% Hispanic.
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