How to Enroll in the Best Truck Driving Classes near Moores Mill Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Moores Mill AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it's essential to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you'll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Moores Mill home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best means to make certain you'll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose 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 review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within Moores Mill AL and throughout the USA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 might also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Moores Mill AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can't be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, 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 should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Moores Mill AL area are accredited due to the stringent 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 required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school's program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Moores Mill AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school's history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won't supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it's any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Moores Mill AL schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it's imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It's also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher's qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn't that what it's all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Moores Mill AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what's known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Moores Mill AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it's imperative 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 certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you're still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Moores Mill AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver 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 assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Choose the Right Moores Mill Truck Driver Training
Choosing the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver's success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It's your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Moores Mill Alabama.