How to Find a Truck Driving School Glenwood Alabama
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Glenwood AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Glenwood residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Glenwood 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. Since the subject of this article is how to choose 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 CDL 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Glenwood AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are some more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Glenwood AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost 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 certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Glenwood AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Glenwood AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques 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 professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Glenwood AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Glenwood AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Glenwood AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Glenwood AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Glenwood AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Glenwood AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Glenwood Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2000, there were 191 people, 92 households, and 58 families residing in the town. The population density was 262.8 people per square mile (101.0/km²). There were 118 housing units at an average density of 162.3 per square mile (62.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 69.11% White, 29.84% Black or African American, and 1.05% from two or more races. 0.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 92 households out of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.59.
In the town, the population was spread out with 18.3% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.3 males.
Pick the Right Truck Driving School Glenwood AL
Selecting the right truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower 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 firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Glenwood AL.
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