How to Choose a Truck Driver School Daphne Alabama
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Daphne AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Daphne home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll get the right education. 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 objective 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Daphne AL, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply 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 focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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 for 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. Some 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 Commercial Drivers License 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. Several 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 require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Daphne AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Daphne AL area are accredited due to the rigorous 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 several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Daphne AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting 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 be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Daphne AL schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out 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 happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. After all, 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 necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Daphne AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver 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 relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Daphne AL schools you are looking at 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 driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Daphne AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Daphne AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Daphne AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Daphne AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Daphne Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Daphne (/ˈdæfniː/) is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, on the eastern shoreline of Mobile Bay. The city is located along I-10, 11 miles east of Mobile and 170 miles southwest of the state capital of Montgomery. The 2010 United States Census lists the population of the city as 21,570, making Daphne the most populous city in Baldwin County. It is a principal city of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley metropolitan area, which includes all of Baldwin County.
The inhabited history of what is now called Daphne dates at least to the Paleo-Indian period and Native American tribes around 9000 BC. Modern-day Daphne is a thriving suburb of nearby Mobile. Daphne has adopted the nickname ″The Jubilee City″ in recognition of its status as one of the locations of the Mobile Bay jubilee. The only other place jubilees occur is in Tokyo Bay.
Daphne and the surrounding regions have been populated since from at least 9,000 BCE. European settlers eventually displaced the Native Americans. After a variety of wars and treaties the area became part of the United States in 1814. Except for a period under the flag of the Confederate States of America, Daphne and its environs have remained part of the United States until this time. From Native American, to the Spanish, French and British, the city has seen a lengthy parade of historic influences which gives Daphne its present character.
Pick the Best Truck Driver School Daphne AL
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Daphne AL.
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