How to Find the Right Truck Driver School near Ragland Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Ragland AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Ragland home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, 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 select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Ragland AL, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class 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 brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 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 operate 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. 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 specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Ragland AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are a few additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Ragland AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of 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 mandates 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Ragland AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors 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 personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Ragland AL schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of 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 instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Ragland AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Ragland AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Ragland AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Ragland AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Ragland AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Ragland AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Ragland Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Ragland is a town in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States southeast of Ashville. It incorporated in 1899. At the 2010 census the population was 1,639, down from 1,918 in 2000. It is part of the Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman Combined Statistical Area.
An F4 tornado struck from the southwest on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1994 at 10:55 a.m. At 11:27 a.m., the National Weather Service of Birmingham issued a tornado warning for northern Calhoun, southeastern Etowah, and southern Cherokee counties. Twelve minutes later, the tornado destroyed Piedmont's Goshen United Methodist Church.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,918 people, 729 households, and 567 families residing in the town. The population density was 114.5 people per square mile (44.2/km²). There were 840 housing units at an average density of 50.1 per square mile (19.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 82.17% White, 17.00% Black or African American, 0.05% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 0.10% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races.
Semi Driving School Ragland AL
Choosing the right trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Semi Driving School. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to think about 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 select an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Ragland AL.
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