How to Pick a Truck Driver School near Plainview Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Plainview AR. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found 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 proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Plainview residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Arkansas and within the United States, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Plainview AR, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 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 greater 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 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 operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Plainview AR truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few additional points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Plainview AR trucking schools are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed 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 top Plainview AR schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Arkansas licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, 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 watch out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Plainview AR schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the Plainview AR school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will provide lots of 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Plainview AR schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from certain Plainview AR trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Arkansas, find out if the Plainview AR schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Arkansas testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Plainview AR school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time 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 attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession in Plainview AR. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out 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 poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed in Plainview AR.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Trucker?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What made you select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a trucker, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you want to address them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Choose the Best Truck Driver School Plainview AR
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an essential 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 forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Plainview AR.
A Bit About Plainview Arkansas
Plainview is a city in Yell County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 755 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Russellville Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Plainview is located at 34°59′22″N 93°17′52″W / 34.98944°N 93.29778°W / 34.98944; -93.29778 (34.989554, -93.297826).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 755 people, 287 households, and 212 families residing in the city. The population density was 522.7 people per square mile (202.4/km²). There were 347 housing units at an average density of 240.3/sq mi (93.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.85% White, 0.13% Black or African American, 0.53% Native American, 6.36% from other races, and 0.13% from two or more races. 6.36% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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