How to Find a Truck Driver School Talladega Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Talladega AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Talladega residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss 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?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Talladega AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and 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 brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 operators may be qualified to drive 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 require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Talladega AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Talladega AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Talladega AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Talladega AL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Talladega AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Talladega AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Talladega AL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to 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 received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Talladega AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Talladega AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Talladega AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Talladega Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Talladega /ˌtæləˈdɪɡə/ is the county seat of Talladega County,Alabama, United States. It was incorporated in 1835. At the 2010 census the population was 15,676. Talladega is approximately 50 miles (80 km) east of Birmingham.
The city is home to the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and the Talladega Municipal Airport, a public general aviation airport. The Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega College and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame are located nearby. The First National Bank of Talladega is the oldest bank in the State of Alabama, being founded in 1848.
The name Talladega is derived from a Muscogee (Creek) Native American word Tvlvtēke, from the Creek tvlwv, meaning "town", and vtēke, meaning "border" – indicating its location on the border between the Creeks and the Natchez. While the town's name is pronounced /ˌtæləˈdɪɡə/ by local inhabitants, the racetrack's name is pronounced /ˌtæləˈdeɪɡə/ by auto racing fans.
Pick the Ideal Trucking School Talladega AL
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn 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 obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving 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 decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Talladega AL.
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