How to Choose a Truck Driving School Haleyville Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Haleyville AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Haleyville home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams 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 cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Haleyville AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and 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). Below are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 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 needed to operate 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. A few 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Haleyville AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are some additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Haleyville AL area are accredited due to the demanding 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Haleyville AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Haleyville AL schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will provide ample 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Haleyville AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of trucking 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 offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free 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 many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Haleyville AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available 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 battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Haleyville AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty 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 working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing 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 employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Haleyville AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Haleyville AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Haleyville AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Haleyville Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Haleyville is a city in Winston and Marion counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It incorporated on February 28, 1889. Most of the city is located in Winston County, with a small portion of the western limits entering Marion County. Haleyville was originally named Davis Cross Roads, having been established at the crossroads of Byler Road and the Illinois Central Railroad. At the 2010 census the population was 4,173, down slightly from 4,182 in 2000.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,182 people, 1,815 households, and 1,148 families residing in the city. The population density was 563.9 people per square mile (217.6/km²). There were 2,061 housing units at an average density of 277.9 per square mile (107.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.81% White, 1.48% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 2.68% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. 3.11% of the population were Latino of any race.
There were 1,815 households out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 52 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.87.
Select the Right Truck Driver School Haleyville AL
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Haleyville AL.
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