How to Pick a Truck Driving School near Sherwood Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Sherwood AR. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Sherwood home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, 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 target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
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 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Sherwood 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations of 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 greater 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 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. A few 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Sherwood AR truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are several additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Sherwood AR truck driver schools are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Sherwood AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Arkansas licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
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 talk more about the teachers in the next section. 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 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Sherwood AR schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the Sherwood AR school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide lots of 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 essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Sherwood AR schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from some Sherwood AR trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific 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 having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are considering are independent or captive 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 grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Arkansas, ask if the Sherwood AR schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Sherwood AR school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new profession in Sherwood AR. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed in Sherwood AR.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask truck driving applicants is "What made you pick trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a truck driver, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare several strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Sherwood AR
Selecting 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 forge 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. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, 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 a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Sherwood AR.
A Bit About Sherwood Arkansas
Sherwood is a city in Pulaski County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 29,523. It is part of the Little Rock−North Little Rock−Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area with 699,757 people according to the 2010 census.
Sherwood was officially incorporated as a town on April 22, 1948. Next, Sherwood moved to a city of Second Class on September 16, 1957, and subsequently as a city of First Class on April 30, 1971.
Sherwood is located at 34°49′51″N 92°12′41″W / 34.83083°N 92.21139°W / 34.83083; -92.21139 (34.830890, -92.211514).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.8 square miles (54.0 km2), of which 20.6 square miles (53.4 km2) is land and 0.23 square miles (0.6 km2), or 1.15%, is water.
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