How to Decide on a CDL Driving School Daleville Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Daleville AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Daleville residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal means to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Daleville AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 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. 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 need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
After you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Daleville AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are a few additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Daleville AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Daleville AL schools had to begin 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 also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering 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 talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Daleville AL schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. 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 no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Daleville AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different 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. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Daleville AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Daleville AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Daleville AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Daleville 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 assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Daleville AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Daleville Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Daleville is a city in Dale County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 5,295, up from 4,653 in 2000. It is part of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area. The city's nickname is "Gateway to Fort Rucker", as this U.S. Army post is located just north of town. Cairns Army Airfield is located to the south of Daleville on the road to nearby Clayhatchee.
Daleville, originally known as "Dale's Court House", was founded in 1827 by veterans of the Creek Indian War who had settled in Dale County following that conflict. It was established as the original county seat of Dale County in 1827 but lost that honor when Coffee County split from Dale in 1841, at which time the seat was moved first to Newton, and then later to Ozark in 1870, where it remains today.
Residents of the town formed portions of two regiments of the Confederate States Army during the U.S. Civil War: the 15th Alabama Infantry, famed for charging the 20th Maine on Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg, and the 33rd Alabama Infantry. In the latter regiment, Company "G", called the "Daleville Blues", was recruited entirely from Daleville. Several men from this company were killed in a freak train derailment on November 4, 1862 near Cleveland, Tennessee; the remainder would fight with the rest of the 33rd in the Confederate Army of Tennessee until the final surrender in 1865.
Select the Right Trucking School Daleville AL
Choosing the right trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills 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 critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Daleville AL.
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