How to Pick a Truck Driving School near Morrilton Arkansas
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Morrilton AR. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Morrilton home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Arkansas and within the USA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Morrilton AR, we will focus on 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 summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 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 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 require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Morrilton AR trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Morrilton AR truck driver schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Morrilton AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching 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 trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual 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 train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Morrilton AR schools offer training courses that range 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 already stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to check out the Morrilton AR school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great 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 necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Morrilton AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of Morrilton AR truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with numerous 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 work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are considering 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 trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, find out if the Morrilton AR schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Morrilton AR school you select 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 are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career in Morrilton AR. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance 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 completed in Morrilton AR.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask truck driving candidates is "What made you pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a truck driver, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare some ideas about how you would like to address them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Best Truck Driving School Morrilton AR
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get 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 consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Morrilton AR.
A Bit About Morrilton Arkansas
Morrilton is a city in Conway County, Arkansas, United States, less than 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Little Rock. The city is the county seat of Conway County. The population was 6,767 at the 2010 census.
Morrilton was incorporated on November 24, 1879, and is named after landowners E.J. and George H. Morrill. Most of the downtown area is built on the farm adjacent to the Morrills formerly owned by James M. Moose.
The city was home to Harding College, now Harding University of Searcy, Arkansas, for about a decade in the 1920s and 1930s. The original campus of Harding University is now the Southern Christian Home, a church-supported residential child care facility.
Morrilton is located in southern Conway County at 35°9′23″N 92°44′31″W / 35.15639°N 92.74194°W / 35.15639; -92.74194 (35.156373, -92.741944). It is bordered on the south by the Arkansas River.
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