How to Pick the Right CDL Training School near Jasper Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Jasper AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Jasper residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on 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 review 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 Jasper AL, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 differentiates 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 brief explanations for 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. 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 needed to drive 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. Several 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 need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Jasper AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are some additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Jasper AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered 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 quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards 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 poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Jasper AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal 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 train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Jasper AL schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough 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 actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential 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 be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Jasper AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified 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 maintaining 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 work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Jasper AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? 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 available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Jasper AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired 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 reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Jasper AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Jasper AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Jasper AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Jasper Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Jasper is a city in and the county seat ofWalker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, its population was 14,352, up from 14,052 in 2000. It is the county seat of Walker County. The city was once ranked among the world's leading producers of coal.
The first significant growth of the area was realized in 1886, when the Kansas City-Memphis & Birmingham and the Sheffield & Birmingham Railroads were completed through Jasper. The population grew from 200 people in 1886 to more than 3,000 in 1890. In a special edition in 1891, the Mountain Eagle stated there were six coal mines, two sandstone quarries, 400 coke ovens, one foundry and machine shop, two saw mills, one brick works, four hotels, and two banks.
Jasper has several sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These include the John Hollis Bankhead House, First United Methodist Church, Jasper Downtown Historic District, and Walker County Hospital.
Class B Truck Driving Schools Jasper AL
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge 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 Class B Truck Driving Schools. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver 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 no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Jasper AL.
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