How to Find a Trucking School near Ariton Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Ariton AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Ariton residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal 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 remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Ariton 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 topic of this article is how to select a truck driver 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). Following are brief descriptions of 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 more 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 require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Ariton AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are some additional points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Ariton AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Ariton AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention 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 insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Ariton AL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish plenty of 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 necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Ariton AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain 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 instead of having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Ariton AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Ariton AL school you choose 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 are proficient. 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 commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Ariton AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Ariton AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Ariton AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Ariton Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Ariton is a town in Dale County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 764. It was incorporated in April 1906. The name is a blend of its two predecessor town names: Ariosto and Charleston.
Ariton is located in northwestern Dale County at 31°35′54″N 85°43′8″W / 31.59833°N 85.71889°W / 31.59833; -85.71889 (31.598204, -85.718761). Alabama State Routes 51 and 123 pass through the center of town as Main Street. AL 51 leads northeast 11 miles (18 km) to Clio and southwest 3.5 miles (5.6 km) to U.S. Route 231, while AL 123 leads west 3.5 miles (5.6 km) to US 231 and southeast 12 miles (19 km) to Ozark, the Dale County seat.
As of the census of 2000, there were 772 people, 306 households, and 220 families residing in the town. The population density was 152.3 people per square mile (58.8/km2). There were 335 housing units at an average density of 66.1 per square mile (25.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.30% White, 29.27% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, and 1.30% from two or more races. 0.78% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Select the Best CDL School Ariton AL
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on 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 choose an independent truck driving 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 decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Ariton AL.
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