How to Find a Truck Driving School Boaz Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Boaz AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Boaz residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Boaz AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and 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). Following are short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 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 needed 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 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 drive specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Boaz AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Boaz AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Boaz AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is particularly 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 drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Boaz AL schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish lots of 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. 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 training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Boaz AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called 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 refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Boaz AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times 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 Boaz AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. 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 commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage 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 few Boaz AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Boaz AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid 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 Boaz AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Boaz Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Boaz is a city in Etowah and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is part of the Gadsden, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 9,551. Boaz is known mainly for its outlet shops.
First settled in the 1850s, the town of Boaz was officially founded November 11, 1878 by the Sparks Family of Georgia. A post office has been in operation since 1887. The city was named after Boaz, from the Hebrew Bible. It was incorporated in 1897.
Boaz is located in southeastern Marshall County at 34°12′10″N 86°9′38″W / 34.20278°N 86.16056°W / 34.20278; -86.16056 (34.202793, −86.160457), and extends south into Etowah County. It is bordered to the north by Albertville and to the southeast by Sardis City. U.S. Route 431 passes through the east side of the city, leading north 6 miles (10 km) to Albertville and southeast 20 miles (32 km) to Gadsden. Boaz is located on top of Sand Mountain (a plateau), at an elevation of 1,080 feet (330 m) above sea level.
Pick the Right Trucking School Boaz AL
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Boaz AL.
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