How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Lockesburg Arkansas
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Lockesburg AR. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Lockesburg residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations 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 discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally in Arkansas and within the United States, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Lockesburg AR, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 drivers may be able to operate 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 more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Lockesburg AR truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Lockesburg AR trucking schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards 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 negatively rated 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 Lockesburg AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn 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 additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Arkansas licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking 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 employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Lockesburg AR schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the Lockesburg AR school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Lockesburg AR schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain Lockesburg AR truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive 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.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, ask if the Lockesburg AR schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Lockesburg AR school you choose provides 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 willing to commit 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 Placement Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career in Lockesburg AR. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are similar 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted in Lockesburg AR.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Trucker?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What made you pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a truck driver, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Best Trucking School Lockesburg AR
Selecting the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need 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 enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Lockesburg AR.
A Bit About Lockesburg Arkansas
Lockesburg is a city in Sevier County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 739 at the 2010 census.
Lockesburg is located at 33°58′11″N 94°10′16″W / 33.96972°N 94.17111°W / 33.96972; -94.17111 (33.969852, -94.171034).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 711 people, 276 households, and 197 families residing in the town. The population density was 201.1 inhabitants per square mile (77.5/km²). There were 328 housing units at an average density of 92.8 per square mile (35.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 92.55% White, 4.50% Black or African American, 2.25% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. 2.95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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