Truck Driving Schools in Arkansas
If you hope to study truck driving in Arkansas, there are many educational opportunities for you. There are 25 educational institutions that offer truck driving classes in Arkansas, including several different truck driver training centers. The average cost of tuition in Arkansas is $2,094. This makes a truck driving education affordable for most students. You may also qualify for financial aid opportunities; the average scholarship award in the state is $1,475, and the average loan amount is $4,598. Many students don't have to pay anything out of pocket for their education! South Arkansas Community College has a special scholarship just for truck driving students, which can help you offset the cost of your education.
CDL Training in Arkansas
The majority of truck driving programs in Arkansas are five weeks long. In those five weeks, you learn everything you need to know about earning a commercial driver's license. You will also learn how to maintain and take care of a truck, driving skills, and other parts of working as a truck driver. Courses include Cargo Loading and Securing, Freight Handling, Defensive Driving, and Safety Procedures. Programs require you to be at least 18 years old. You must also have your commercial learner's permit, given by the Arkansas DMV. After completing your truck driving course, you will be ready to take the Arkansas commercial driver's license exam.
Working with Your Arkansas CDL
In order to work as a truck driver in Arkansas, you have to earn your commercial driving license (CDL) from the Arkansas DMV. Before applying, make sure you meet license requirements. You must have a relatively clean driving record—serious offenses can make you ineligible for a CDL. You will have to first take a written test and then a road skills test. The testing fee is $50, and your fee for the actual license is $42.
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for truck drivers is growing faster than average across the country. They expect this to pan out to over 330,000 new truck driving jobs nationally between 2010 and 2020 (BLS, 2010).
In Arkansas, the outlook for truck drivers is consistent with the national outlook. O*Net predicts that there will be 1,150 new truck driving jobs per year between 2010 and 2020 (O*Net, 2010).
Truck drivers in Arkansas can look forward to a competitive range of salaries. According to O*Net, the median salary for Arkansas truck drivers is $34,300 per year. The listed range of salaries goes from $24,400 to $57,300. You may be able to earn more if you drive longer distances, spend more time away from home, or have seniority in your company.
There are a variety of employment opportunities for truck drivers in Arkansas. You may work independently as an owner-operator, or you can work for a truck driving or cargo company. Some of the major trucking employers in Arkansas include C.R. England in Little Rock, Tri-National in Little Rock, USA Truck in Russellville, and Schneider National in West Memphis.
As a new truck driver, you may have to work long hours on the road. Depending on where you work, you might return home every week, every two weeks, or every month. As you gain more experience and seniority, you may be able to be home more often.
Diesel mechanics and students alike have a lot to look forward to in Arkansas. Full of small cities and towns, Arkansas is a very safe state to live in. This makes it a great place for families to settle down and place roots. Some of the bigger cities in Arkansas include Little Rock and Fort Smith.
A big advantage of living in Arkansas is its cost of living. It has a low cost of living that is considerably lower than the national average, according to Sperling's Best Places. There are options for affordable real estate throughout the state, so even with an entry-level job you have the chance of becoming a homeowner.