How to Enroll in the Right Trucker School near Moores Mill Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Moores Mill AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it's important to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you'll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Moores Mill residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to make certain you'll get the appropriate training. Don't forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver's license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within Moores Mill AL and throughout the United States, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 CDL is required 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. A few 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Moores Mill AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Moores Mill AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Moores Mill AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school's track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Moores Mill AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it's essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide ample 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Moores Mill AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Moores Mill AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it's important that the Moores Mill AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you're having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Moores Mill AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Moores Mill AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enroll in the Best Moores Mill Truck Driver Training
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver's success. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It's your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Moores Mill Alabama.