How to Decide on the Right CDL Driving School near Camden Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Camden AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain 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 need to examine before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Camden home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn 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 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 review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Camden AL, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries of the 2 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. Several 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. 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Camden AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Camden AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated 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 Camden 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 pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking 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 employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention 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 professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Camden AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates 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. Contact the Camden AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Camden AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Camden AL school you choose 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 instructor should be prepared to commit 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 accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Camden AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Camden AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Camden AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Camden Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
What is now Camden was established on property donated by Thomas Dunn from his plantation holdings in order to have a new town founded on the site in 1833 to serve as the county seat. Dunn's Federal style house, built in 1825, is the oldest documented house in the town. The first county seat was in the community of Canton Bend.
The county seat was moved in 1833 to Barboursville, later renamed Camden. It had been named Barboursville in honor of United States Congressman Philip Barbour of Virginia. Incorporated in 1841, Camden was renamed by local physician John D. Caldwell in honor of his hometown of Camden, South Carolina.
The area depended on cultivation of cotton as a commodity crop, which was worked by numerous African-American slaves. The earliest documented industries in the town were a brickyard, sawmill, and window fabricator. The Camden Phenix was the town's earliest known newspaper. Townspeople founded a girls' school in 1844, the Wilcox Female Seminary and Female Institute, whose red-brick Greek-Revival style building was constructed from 1845–50. In 1976 the former school was adapted to house the Wilcox County Historical Society.
Commercial Driving School Camden AL
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several 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 Commercial Driving School. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Camden AL.
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