CDL Trucking Schools in Arkansas – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: May 16, 2021

There's nothing like the beauty of the open road. For years, people have wanted to work a career that lets them feel and experience this beauty.

No career is better to get that feeling than in the trucking industry.

Before you can start a trucking career, though, you have to learn more about premier trucking schools in Arkansas. 

Trucking Schools in Arkansas Data

  • Total Schools: 28

  • Number of Undergraduate Programs: 16

  • Number of Graduate Programs: 2

  • Average Acceptance Rate: 74%

  • Average Tuition Cost: $2,294

  • Average Loan Amount: $5,732

  • Average Scholarship Award: $1,419

  • Average Classroom Size: 15 Students

  • Average Length of Program: 5 weeks

CDL Requirements in Arkansas

The requirements to get a CDL in Arkansas are very similar to that of the rest of the country. Those who have already researched this subject or have a CDL in another state may recognize some of them. For those who have no prior knowledge on the subject, honestly, they are fairly simple. They are as follows:

Age

You have to be at least 18 to get a CDL that would allow them to drive within state lines. However, if they want to drive between states, they have to be at least 21 years of age. 

License

Those that want to get a CDL have held a Class D License for at least a year.

Physical Exam

Those that want to get their CDL will also have to pass a medical exam, which entails a vision test, a hearing test, and a mental exam. 

And that's about it! If a student meets these requirements, they are eligible to get a CDL in the state of Arkansas. They are pretty easy to obtain, so it shouldn't be an issue for most people who want to become truck drivers. 

CDL Variations Available in Arkansas 

For those who know about CDLs in other states, the variations available in Arkansas will look very familiar. As with most CDL variations around the country, there are two types of CDLs you can obtain divided into two categories: certifications and endorsements.

Certifications

Class A

This is the standard CDL certification, the one most truck drivers will have to obtain to drive a truck in any state. We'll spare our readers too much insider lingo and instead say that those with the Class A certification will be able to drive vehicles that have a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, including a towed unit of 10,000 pounds or more. 

Class B

Almost identical to the Class A certification, except those with a Class B certification can only drive vehicles with a towed unit of 10,000 pounds or less.

Class C

This certification is for any vehicle that does not match the Class A or Class B qualifications.  

Endorsements

  • T- Double/Triple Trailers 

  • H- Hazardous materials

  • N- Tank vehicle

  • X- Combination of tank vehicle and hazardous materials
  • P- Passenger Buses

  • S- School Bus

  • And that sums it up! These are all the different variations of the CDL in Arkansas. 

Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Arkansas

And now, let us look at the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Arkansas. 
  • Locations: 7648 Victory Blvd, Newport, AR 72112
  • Website: https://www.asun.edu/
  • Average Tuition Cost: $2,294
  • Average Class Size: 10
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Truck Driver Training
  • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1 teacher per 10 students

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Arkansas State University

There is practically no information about this program that we could find. We couldn't find out if Arkansas State University offered CDL testing on campus, and we couldn't even find out whether or not they had CDL training in their program.

We have to assume so, as their website claims that "ASUN offers a program of study designed to prepare you for a rewarding career in commercial truck driving"; however, exercise caution when applying to this program. It is never a good sign when a school doesn't give information on what they exactly teach in their trucking programs, and this is a prime example of one of those schools. 

Program Details

Once again, there was little to no information about this program. The student-to-truck ratio was not there, and no photos were showing off their equipment.

That said, the good news is the school's website promises job prospects. According to their website, the students who have graduated from their program have gone on to work with such companies as "JB Hunt, Maverick, Walmart, Werner, PAM, ABF, and many regional transportation companies". There are plenty of job opportunities for those who graduate from Arkansas State University; however, we aren't sure just how much we trust a program with such little information.

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Pine Bluff Truck Driving School

We love seeing this: a course that not only teaches students how to drive trucks but gets them their Class A CDL at the end. We hear that the first four days of the Pine Bluff Truck Driving School program is preparing to write the CDL written test, and after just three weeks of an intensive six days per week program, students are ready to take their CDL test. This all-in-one course is perfect for those who want their Class A CDL and to get on the road as soon as possible.

Program Details

We didn't learn much about the student-to-truck ratio; however, we saw that they have top-of-the-line equipment. As for job prospects, any graduate from Pine Bluff Truck Driving School will have their Class A CDL and will be a hot commodity for anyone.

As for what students will learn, course content consists of vehicle inspection, up/down shifting, double-clutching, backing, coupling/uncoupling, highway and city driving, and niche courses, like substance abuse and defensive driving. Truly, this is a course that includes everything a potential trucker could want to know!

  • Locations: 1515 Pioneer Drive Harrison, AR 72601
  • Website: http://www.northark.edu/
  • Average Tuition Cost: $1,968
  • Average Class Size: 16
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Class A CDL Training
  • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1 teacher per 16 students

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By North Arkansas College

Once again, we encounter a college that will give future truck drivers the knowledge they need to get a Class A CDL without actually giving them the license at the end of the program. Regardless, this 15-week program will train students in everything they need to know about being a commercial truck driver.

The most interesting part of this program is that, while the first five weeks of the program are in class, the last ten weeks are spent doing an internship with a company of the student's choosing, which is probably pretty good for job prospects. 

Program Details

The best part about this program is the internship part. Many schools will team up with trucking companies to give those companies first dibs at their graduates, and this program makes students a part of the company while they are still learning, a great idea that's just a small part of a great program.

Their equipment is top-notch, some of the best we've seen at a trucking school. As for their student-to-truck ratio, we weren't able to find that out exactly; however, we do know they own their trucks, which is always a good sign.

  • Locations: 3000 West Scenic Drive North Little Rock, AR 72118
  • Website: https://uaptc.edu/
  • Average Tuition Cost: $2412
  • Average Class Size: 14
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: N/A
  • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1 teacher per 14 students 

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Pulaski Technical College

We've included this program in our list because it's for people who not only want to join the trucking industry but also drive a tractor-trailer. While CDL is in the name, there are no indicators that this program will prepare students for the CDL test. We know for a fact that Pulaski Technical College isn't offering a testing program for the CDL, so not only will students potentially be unprepared for the CDL test, but they also will have to take it by themselves on an off-campus testing site. 

Program Details

As for details, there is very little. There is no information about the type of equipment used, the student-to-truck ratio, and, as for the Pulaski Technical College's relationship with local trucking companies, there is no information about that either.

All we can tell you is that there are three courses in this program– Legal Requirements of Tractor and Trailer Operation, Tractor Trailer Logistics, and Pre-Trip for Road Tractors and Trailers. Exercise caution while choosing to go to Pulaski Technical College to become a truck driver because until they update the information on the site there is very little, which is a red flag.

  • Locations: 5111 Rogers Ave Suite 418 Fort Smith, AR 72903 and 1400 West Markham Street, Suite 300, Little Rock, AR 72201
  • Website: https://www.cdlacademy.net/commercial-drivers-license-cdl-course/
  • Average Tuition Cost: $2,513
  • Average Class Size: 15
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: CDL training
  • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1 teacher per 15 students

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By CDL Academy Network

This school does not hand out certifications. That said, they do give students all the tools they need to obtain their CDL. Afterward, students can go out and get the test done themselves, which we can only assume the cost would come out of their pocket.

The course itself is split between in course lessons, range training and ending with some road training. It will be about 160 total hours, with 55 of those hours in the classroom, 55 on the range, and finally, 21 hours observing behind-the-wheel operations.

Program Details

Students learn many things in this program. According to its website, the first topics covered are laws and regulations of commercial motor vehicle operation. Then, students learn to inspect their vehicles on the range. Next, they learn how to place a vehicle in operation as well as coupling and uncoupling procedures.

Then comes learning to use the controls and emergency equipment, followed by physically operating the vehicle, including turning, passing, backing, and parking. Breaking is extensively covered in its own class. There will also be some daily logging taught.

How to Choose a Trucking School in Arkansas

Many different factors should go into choosing a trucking school in the great state of Arkansas; however, let us only discuss the three most important factors:

Cost

Cost is probably the most important thing to consider when you are choosing a trucking school in Arkansas. Why? While the adage "you have to spend money to make money" exists, spend too much over budget, and you may find themselves destitute with no job to show for it. Keep in mind several factors as well as the cost, such as whether or not the school offers financial aid or whether a company will pay prospective drivers to get their CDL.

Program

The program's content is most likely the second most important factor when choosing a school in Arkansas. There are many different programs that you can choose from, and it's integral to choose the program that fits a certain student's needs. Look into the instructors, the equipment used, the amount of time spent in class, and of course, the graduation rate.

Job Prospects

Ask this while choosing a school– how many of the graduates go on to have jobs after completing the program? Are there companies that sponsor the school and will take recent graduates? How well connected are the instructors?

Why Start a Trucking Career in Arkansas?

You could start a career in trucking anywhere, why should you choose Arkansas? Well, there are a couple of factors as to why you should go with Arkansas over the other states in the US. 

For starters, those who want to be a part of the trucking industry in Arkansas will be an integral part of their community. Those who have always wanted to help those around them should consider becoming a trucker.  The folks at the Arkansas Trucking Association claim that "over 86% of Arkansas communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods, and that's just a brief sample of our industry's impact here at home."

Secondly, the trucking industry in Arkansas isn't controlled by some big trucking conglomerate. Once again, the fine folks at the Arkansas Trucking Association have gathered data that says, "As of April 2020, there were 4,840 trucking companies located in Arkansas, most of them small, locally-owned businesses. Over 90% of our interstate motor carriers operate 20 or fewer trucks."

And finally, trucking isn't an industry that disappears. It has continued to work through a global pandemic and will most likely continue to exist long after as well. 

Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Arkansas

In this section, we will look at the average truck driving salary for various experience levels, including those who have just entered the industry, those who have a decent career going, and finally, those at the end of their career who have mastered trucking. Also, we will discuss the job outlook for Arkansas. Will there be a job for future drivers who wish to join the industry?

Annual Salary

Entry-Level: Those who are just entering the trucking industry in Arkansas should expect to make on average $18,947 per year. 

Mid-Level: Those who are halfway through their career or are at the mid-level (comfortable, but not quite a master) can expect to make about $47,696 per year, which comes out to about $20 per hour.

Master-Level: Finally, the masters of the trucking industry, the cream of the trucking crop, should expect to make upwards of $72,260 per year.

Like most of the country, Arkansas is in dire need of truckers. Go to any job website, and you can find scores of trucking jobs available in the state. They are begging for people to come out and be truckers in Arkansas, and the industry is big enough to support as many truckers as they can take. 

Conclusion 

We've reached the end of our article about trucking schools in the great state of Arkansas, and hope that students looking to join the industry in the state are better versed on what it takes to become a trucker in Arkansas. However, there is one more step you have to take. Choose a school and start your career! 

People Also Ask

We know choosing a school for your trucking career in Arkansas can be overwhelming and that you probably have a few more questions. For those who need more information about the Arkansas trucking industry, read on! 

Do Trucking Companies In Arkansas Pay You To Get Your CDL?

This one is going to depend on the trucking company, to be honest. Some companies in Arkansas will pay prospective students to get their CDL; however, more companies probably won’t. Keep in mind it also depends on the student. If they are a good investment, there's a good chance a company will pay for their CDL. 

Can You Get Financial Aid For Trucking School in Arkansas?

Once again, this depends on the trucking school. Some offer financial aid, and some don't. If a student requires financial aid, then they should research the specific school they're interested in or reach out to the school to inquire. 

How Much Does It Cost To Get a CDL in Arkansas?

The average cost of a CDL in Arkansas is $92, which includes a license cost of $42 and an additional $50 testing fee. While this may seem like a lot to some, the CDL will last a truck driver four years and will be much less costly to renew. So really, it's only a once-in-a-lifetime fee.

How Many Questions Are On the Arkansas CDL Test?

There are 50 questions on the Arkansas CDL written test, which may sound daunting, but these questions are multiple-choice. Those who have diligently studied the handbook should pass this test with ease, as each question will include a hint and an explanation. So the bottom line is this: study!



After spending years on the road, I had a lot of time to think about the hardships that came with the trucking industry. I realized there was an opportunity to lend a hand a create a resource for truckers by truckers. With the help of my tech-savvy son, I built Trucker Geek as a way to show people that becoming a driver doesn’t need to be a stressful headache.