How to Select the Right Truck Driver School near Tuskegee Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Tuskegee AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Tuskegee home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best means 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 objective 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Tuskegee AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 required 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 Commercial Drivers License 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. A few 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Tuskegee AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Tuskegee AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, 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 several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator 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 typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Tuskegee AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Tuskegee AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish sufficient 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. 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 a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Tuskegee AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified 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 having associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Tuskegee AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Tuskegee AL school you choose provides 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 teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Tuskegee AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Tuskegee AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Tuskegee AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Tuskegee Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Tuskegee (/tʌsˈkiːɡiː/) is a city in Macon County, Alabama, United States. It was founded and laid out in 1833 by General Thomas Simpson Woodward, a Creek War veteran under Andrew Jackson, and made the county seat that year. It was incorporated in 1843. It is also the largest city in Macon County. At the 2010 census the population was 9,865, down from 11,846 in 2000.
Tuskegee has been an important site in African-American history and highly influential in United States history since the 19th century. Before the American Civil War, the area was largely used as a cotton plantation, dependent on African-American slave labor. After the war, many freedmen continued to work on plantations in the rural area, which was devoted to agriculture. In 1881 the Tuskegee Normal School (now Tuskegee University, a historically black college) was founded by Lewis Adams, a former slave whose father, Jesse Adams, a slave owner, allowed him to be educated, and its first, founding principal was, Booker T. Washington who developed a national reputation and philanthropic network to support education of freedmen and their children.
In 1923, the Tuskegee Veterans Administration Medical Center was established here, initially for the estimated 300,000 African-American veterans of World War I in the South, when public facilities were racially segregated. Twenty-seven buildings were constructed on the 464-acre campus.
CDL Driving School Tuskegee AL
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Driving School. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving 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 choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Tuskegee AL.
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