How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Adger Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Adger AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Adger home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable 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? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Adger AL, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one 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 focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind 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 descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 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. Some 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 might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Adger AL trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are several more 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 Adger AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Adger AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Adger AL schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to 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 level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide plenty of 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Adger AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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 have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Adger AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? 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 allowed in Alabama, ask 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 from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Adger AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering 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 companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Adger AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Adger AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Adger AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Adger Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The community is served by a volunteer fire department as well as a Neighborhood Watch office, which doubles as a working office for Jefferson County sheriff's deputies who patrol the area. It is governed by the Jefferson County Commission and the various departments and facets of the County Government.
The town is named for Andrew M. Adger, originally of Charleston, South Carolina. Mr. Adger moved to Bessemer, Alabama, when he became an investor in and secretary-treasurer of the Bessemer Land & Improvement Company. He also was an operating officer of the Debardeleben Coal & Iron Company. Adger is a rural community that arose in the late 1880s during development of Debardeleben's Adger, Johns, and Belle Sumter mines in the Blue Creek Coal Basin. The mines were operating at their peak in the early Twentieth Century. The Black Diamond Mine also operated in the Adger community along Blue Creek road where the mine's Hoist Tipple and Portal were located about 100 yards west of the Old Blue Creek Baptist Church. Since the closing of the mines the community has seen both periodic growth and decline. Currently ( March 2013 ) the Adger, Johns, Sumter and Black Diamond Coal mine sites are being strip mined by Durmmond Coal's Twin Pines Mining Company and only a few concrete foundations remain, hidden in the thick privet growth, that hint back to the original mining interest.
Its location is about 5.0 miles (8.0 km) northwest and about 6.5 miles (10.5 km) from Interstates 20/59 which merge in Northeast Jefferson County and run through Jefferson County into Tuscaloosa County and northward into Walker County. It is the former location of Oak Grove High School on Lock 17 Road. An F5 tornado destroyed it on April 8, 1998. City-Data.com reports the area to be 131 square miles (340 km2) with a population density of 23 per square mile. The zip code is 35006.
Select the Right CDL School Adger AL
Picking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to look into 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 trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Adger AL.
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