How to Enroll in the Right CDL Training School near Eufaula Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Eufaula AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Eufaula home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, 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 objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Eufaula AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are short descriptions for 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. A few 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. 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 drive certain types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Eufaula AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are several additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Eufaula AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For 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 Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Eufaula AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Eufaula AL schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver 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 actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Eufaula AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous 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 flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Eufaula AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Eufaula AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Eufaula AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Eufaula 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 a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Eufaula AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Eufaula Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The site along the Chattahoochee River that is now modern-day Eufaula was occupied by three Creek tribes, including the Eufaulas.:3 By the 1820s the land was part of the Creek Indian Territory and supposedly off-limits to white settlement.:4 By 1827 enough illegal white settlement had occurred that the Creeks appealed to the federal government for protection of their property rights. In July of that year, federal troops were sent to the Eufaula area to remove the settlers by force of arms, a conflict known as the "Intruders War".:4
The Creeks signed the Treaty of Washington in 1826, ceding most of their land in Georgia and eastern Alabama to the United States, but it was not fully effective in practice until the late 1820s. The 1832 Treaty of Cusseta, by which the Creeks ceded all land east of the Mississippi River to the United States, allowed white settlers to legally buy land from the Creek. However, the treaty's terms did not require any natives to relocate. By 1835 the land on which the town was built had been mostly purchased by white settlers, and had a store, owned in part by William Irwin, after whom the new settlement was named "Irwinton".:5
Significant numbers of Jewish settlers came to Eufaula in the middle of the nineteenth century from Germany and from neighboring states. The community founded a cemetery; the first burial took place in 1845.
Truck Driving Schools Cost Eufaula AL
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving Schools Cost. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Eufaula AL.
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