How to Pick the Right Truck Driving School near Autaugaville Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Autaugaville AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Autaugaville home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master 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? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Autaugaville AL, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Several of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Autaugaville AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Autaugaville AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent 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 caliber, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, 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 Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated 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 best of Autaugaville AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Autaugaville AL schools offer 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 imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to 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? Above all else, a great 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 real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Autaugaville AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Autaugaville AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. 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, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Autaugaville AL school you choose 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 willing to dedicate 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 received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering 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 companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Autaugaville AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Autaugaville AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Autaugaville AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Autaugaville Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2010, there were 870 people, 350 households, and 243 families residing in the town. The population density was 114.2 people per square mile (44.1/km2). There were 412 housing units at an average density of 54.1 per square mile (20.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 66.8% Black or African American, 31.3% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 0.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 350 households of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, 26.0% has a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.
Truck Driving School Near Me Autaugaville AL
Picking the right truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving School Near Me. However, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large 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 lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Autaugaville AL.
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