How to Select the Right Truck Driver School near Moulton Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Moulton AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Moulton residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Moulton AL, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 select a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 might also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Moulton AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Moulton AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Moulton AL schools had to begin 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 relating 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 associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Moulton AL schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will provide lots of 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 substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time differs 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 Moulton AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with many different 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Moulton AL schools you are considering are captive or independent 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 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 convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Moulton AL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Moulton AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Moulton 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 assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Moulton AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Moulton Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Moulton is a city in Lawrence County, Alabama, United States and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, as well as the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. Although it incorporated in 1819, along with its rival of Courtland, to compete for the honor of county seat, it did not first appear on the U.S. Census rolls until 1900. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 3,471, its record high. The city has been the county seat of Lawrence County since 1820. It has been the largest community in the county since the 1920 U.S. Census.
By the time Alabama became a state in 1819, an inn had been erected at the site of what is now Moulton to serve migrants along the various early paths that passed through the area. Shortly after Alabama achieved statehood, both Moulton and Courtland (to the north) incorporated and competed for the county seat of Lawrence County. Governor Thomas Bibb awarded the seat to Moulton as the most centrally located of the two within the county. The city is named for Lieutenant Michael Moulton, a soldier killed while fighting under General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814.
Moulton is located at 34°28′56″N 87°17′8″W / 34.48222°N 87.28556°W / 34.48222; -87.28556 (34.482307, -87.285621). The city is concentrated along Alabama State Route 33 southwest of Decatur. Alabama State Route 24 passes through the northern part of the city, and Alabama State Route 157 passes through its eastern section. The William B. Bankhead National Forest lies to the southwest of Moulton.
Truck Drivers School Moulton AL
Selecting the right truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Drivers School. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to consider 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 truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Moulton AL.
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