How to Choose a CDL Driving School Arab Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Arab AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Arab home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Don’t forget, 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 goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Arab AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 descriptions of the 2 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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. Several 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 need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Arab AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are some more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Arab AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Arab AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following 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 personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Arab AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Arab AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Arab AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Arab AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Arab AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Arab AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Arab AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Arab Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Burj Al Arab
The Burj Al Arab (Arabic: برج العرب, Tower of the Arabs) is a luxury hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Of the tallest hotels in the world, it is the fifth tallest, although 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space. Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 m (920 ft) from Jumeirah Beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The shape of the structure is designed to resemble the sail of a ship. It has a helipad near the roof at a height of 210 m (689 ft) above ground.
The beachfront area where Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel are located was previously called Miami Beach. The hotel is located on an island of reclaimed land 280 meters offshore of the beach of the former Chicago Beach Hotel. The locale's name had its origins in the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company which at one time welded giant floating oil storage tanks, known locally as Kazzans on the site.
The Burj Al Arab was designed by multidisciplinary consultancy Atkins led by architect Tom Wright, who has since become co-founder of WKK Architects. The design and construction were managed by Canadian engineer Rick Gregory also of WS Atkins. It is very similar to the Vasco da Gama Tower located in Lisbon, Portugal. Construction of the island began in 1994 and involved up to 2,000 construction workers during peak construction. It was built to resemble the billowing spinnaker sail of a J-class yacht. Two "wings" spread in a V to form a vast "mast", while the space between them is enclosed in a massive atrium. The architect Tom Wright said "The client wanted a building that would become an iconic or symbolic statement for Dubai; this is very similar to Sydney with its Opera House, London with Big Ben, or Paris with the Eiffel Tower. It needed to be a building that would become synonymous with the name of the city."[not in citation given]
Choose the Ideal CDL School Arab AL
Picking the right truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to consider 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 enroll in an independent 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 choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Arab AL.
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