How to Select a CDL Training School near Palestine Arkansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Palestine AR. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate 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 examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Palestine residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal method to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest 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 Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Arkansas and within the United States, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses 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 Palestine AR, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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 short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 needed 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. Some 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 may also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Palestine AR trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Palestine AR truck driver schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense 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 certain advantages. Potential 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 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed 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 best of Palestine 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 track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Arkansas and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Palestine AR schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the Palestine AR school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between 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. Check with the Palestine 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 Palestine AR truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff 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 reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the Palestine AR schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Palestine AR school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor 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 must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession in Palestine AR. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed in Palestine AR.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Trucker?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask truck driving candidates is "What made you pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must ready several approaches about how you would like to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Best Trucking School Palestine AR
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to consider 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 choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Palestine AR.
A Bit About Palestine Arkansas
Palestine is a city in St. Francis County, Arkansas, United States, along the L'Anguille River. The population was 681 at the 2010 census, a decline from 741 in 2000.
Palestine is located at 34°58′25″N 90°54′22″W / 34.97361°N 90.90611°W / 34.97361; -90.90611 (34.973480, -90.905994).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2), of which 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.62%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 741 people, 299 households, and 209 families residing in the city. The population density was 230.2 people per square mile (88.9/km²). There were 321 housing units at an average density of 99.7 per square mile (38.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.96% White, 13.23% Black or African American, 0.13% from other races, and 0.67% from two or more races. 0.27% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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