How to Find a Trucking School near Brent Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Brent AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate 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 consider before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Brent residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified 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 remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Brent AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 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 select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and 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). Following are brief 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 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 greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Brent AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Brent AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace 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. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Brent AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes 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. The majority of Brent AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Brent AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Brent AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent 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 grads. 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 contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Brent AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Brent AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Brent AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Brent AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Brent Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
On May 27, 1973, Brent was almost completely destroyed by an F4 tornado during an outbreak of violent weather in the Deep South, killing 5 people and injuring 56 in the area. The tornado was on the ground for 139 miles (224 km), currently the longest track to date in Alabama history, beginning just northeast of Demopolis in Hale County and eventually dissipating at Cheaha Mountain in Clay County. Adjacent Centreville received significant damage as well as locations in nearby counties. Brent was able to be rebuilt.
Brent is located near the center of Bibb County at 32°56'24.864" North, 87°10'29.935" West (32.940240, -87.174982). It lies in the Cahaba River valley and is adjacent to the city of Centreville, the county seat, which is across the Cahaba River from the city. U.S. Route 82 passes through the northern part of town, bypassing the town center, and leads northwest 32 miles (51 km) to Tuscaloosa and southeast 73 miles (117 km) to Montgomery, the state capital.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Brent has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
Choose the Right Truck Driving School Brent AL
Picking the right truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Brent AL.
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