How to Pick a Trucking School Deatsville Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Deatsville AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Deatsville home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Deatsville AL, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations 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. 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Deatsville AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Deatsville AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost 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. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Deatsville AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following 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 getting 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Deatsville AL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though 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 vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction 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 furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Deatsville AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit 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 prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Deatsville AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? 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, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Deatsville AL school you select offers 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 instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Deatsville AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Deatsville AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Deatsville AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Deatsville Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Deatsville is a town in Elmore County, Alabama, United States. Although Deatsville initially incorporated in 1903, it lapsed at some point after the 1910 U.S. Census and did not appear again as incorporated until 2000. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,154, up from 340 in 2000. Holtville High School is located near Deatsville.
Deatsville is located in western Elmore County at 32°35′38″N 86°23′36″W / 32.59389°N 86.39333°W / 32.59389; -86.39333 (32.593958, -86.393454). It is bordered to the west by Autauga County and to the south by the city of Millbrook.
Alabama State Route 143 passes through the center of Deatsville, leading northwest 22 miles (35 km) to Clanton and southeast 8 miles (13 km) to Elmore. Montgomery, the state capital, is 23 miles (37 km) to the south.
Pick the Best Trucking School Deatsville AL
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation 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 several options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Deatsville AL.
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