How to Choose a Truck Driving School near Osceola Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Osceola AR. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving 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 job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Osceola residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually 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 person can qualify 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 Osceola AR, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 operate 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. 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 might also need endorsements to operate specific 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 licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Osceola AR truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. 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 equally if not more important. So following are a few more things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Osceola AR trucking schools are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks 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 business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Osceola AR schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Osceola AR schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher 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 may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the Osceola AR school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Osceola AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some Osceola AR trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive 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 associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? 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 Osceola AR schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Osceola AR school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote 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 accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career in Osceola AR. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted in Osceola AR.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Trucker?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for being a trucker, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School Osceola AR
Choosing the ideal trucking school is an important first step to launching your new vocation 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 available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Osceola AR.
A Bit About Osceola Arkansas
Osceola is a city in and one of the two county seats of Mississippi County, Arkansas, United States. Located along the Mississippi River within the Arkansas delta, the settlement was founded in 1837 and incorporated in 1853. Occupying an important location on the river, the city's economy grew as steamboat traffic increased. Timber and cotton harvesting would develop, and the city experienced rapid growth and development throughout the early 20th century. The city's economy has since diversified to include a robust industrial sector. The population was 7,757 at the 2010 census.
During the prehistoric period, Osceola and Mississippi County was largely swampland, with dense forest cover. The area was inhabited only by Native American tribes until the first settlers arrived around the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
Initial white visitors to the area were speculators, hunters, and outlaws, but the remote region remained sparsely populated by settlers. An extremely intense New Madrid earthquake swarm, produced by the New Madrid Seismic Zone nearby in present-day Missouri, struck the area in 1811-1812. The results were widespread soil liquefaction and a change in geography that produced "sunken lands", which were sandy berms of silt and sediment disturbed by the earthquakes. Some tracts of land were sunk over 50 feet (15 m), disappeared underneath newly formed lakes (such as Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee), or transformed from green forests to stagnant swamps.
Following continuing speculation and settlement in the area in the years after the earthquakes, two settlers, William Bard Edrington and John Price Edrington negotiated the acquisition of Native American huts along the Mississippi River. By this point, the combination of abundant timber as an obvious economic asset and easy access to shippers and travelers along the river began driving growth in the region. In 1837, the settlement adopted the name Plum Point.
More Cities of Interest in Arkansas