Tag Archives: Becoming a Truck Driver near Gulf Shores AL 36542

Truck Driving Schools Near Me | CDL Training Gulf Shores AL 36542

How to Decide on a CDL Training School Gulf Shores Alabama

Gulf Shores AL truck driving schoolBest wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Gulf Shores AL. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Gulf Shores residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.

Which CDL Will You Need?

tractor trailer in Gulf Shores ALIn order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Gulf Shores AL, a driver must attain 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. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are brief summaries for 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 more 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.

How to Assess a Truck Driver School

big red tractor in Gulf Shores ALAfter you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Gulf Shores AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are several more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Gulf Shores AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Gulf Shores AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.

How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, 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 attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Gulf Shores AL schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish ample 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Gulf Shores AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Gulf Shores AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Gulf Shores AL school you enroll in offers 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 instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Gulf Shores AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Gulf Shores AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.

Attending Truck Driving School near Gulf Shores AL?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Gulf Shores Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores is located on the Gulf of Mexico at 30°16'4.069" North, 87°42'5.285" West (30.267797, −87.701468).[4] It is the southernmost settlement in the state of Alabama.[5] It is served by Alabama State Route 59 (Gulf Shores Parkway), which leads north to Foley. Route 182 (Beach Boulevard) runs east-west along the shore front, while Route 180 (Fort Morgan Road) runs parallel to it, north of Little Lagoon. Gulf State Park occupies a large eastern part of the city.

Gulf Shores is located 33 miles (53 km) west of Pensacola, Florida, 54 miles (87 km) south of Mobile, 197 miles (317 km) east of New Orleans, 194 miles (312 km) south of Montgomery, and 55 miles (89 km) west of Navarre, Florida.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.0 square miles (72.5 km2), of which 23.2 square miles (60.0 km2) is land and 4.8 square miles (12.5 km2), or 17.24%, is water.[3]

Select the Best CDL School Gulf Shores AL

Picking the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to starting 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 offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may 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 select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Gulf Shores AL.

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