How to Enroll in the Right Truck Driving School near Lincoln Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Lincoln AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever 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 a number of factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Lincoln residence. The expense 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 appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Lincoln AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class 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 summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Lincoln AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Lincoln AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Lincoln AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement 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 considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following 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 receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Lincoln AL schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide sufficient 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Lincoln AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific 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 relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Lincoln AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent 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 grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask 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 other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Lincoln AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Lincoln AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Lincoln AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing 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 Lincoln AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Lincoln Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Lincoln is a city in Talladega County, Alabama, United States. It was incorporated in 1911. At the 2010 census the population was 6,266. It was named for Major General Benjamin Lincoln, who served in the American army during the Revolutionary War.
Lincoln is located at 33°35′35″N 86°8′20″W / 33.59306°N 86.13889°W / 33.59306; -86.13889 (33.593156, -86.138879). It is home to Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, employing over 4,000 people. Talladega Superspeedway race track is located near the city.
Lincoln has three public schools in the Talladega County Board of Education, Lincoln Elementary School, Charles R. Drew Middle School, and Lincoln High School, Home of The Golden Bears. The first graduate of Lincoln High School was the famous Cities Service Company CEO Burl S. Watson, who graduated from LHS in 1912.
CDL Training Course Lincoln AL
Picking the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered 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 Training Course. However, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter 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 Lincoln AL.
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