How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Brierfield Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Brierfield AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Brierfield residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss 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 Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Brierfield AL, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 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 together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 required to drive 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 operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Brierfield AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Brierfield AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Brierfield AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Brierfield AL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified 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 a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Brierfield AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than 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 restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Brierfield AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. 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 facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Brierfield AL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate 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 commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Brierfield AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Brierfield AL area vocational or trade 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 understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Brierfield AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Brierfield Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Brierfield is an unincorporated community in Bibb County, Alabama, United States. It was established in the mid 19th century and was the site of a major ironworks operation during and following the American Civil War. It is thought by scholars to be named in honor of Jefferson Davis' Brierfield Plantation, which supplied the first ironworks with machinery. It has two sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Brierfield Furnace and Montebrier.
Brierfield is located at 33°02′20″N 86°54′32″W / 33.03900°N 86.90887°W / 33.03900; -86.90887Coordinates: 33°02′20″N 86°54′32″W / 33.03900°N 86.90887°W / 33.03900; -86.90887 and has an elevation of 377 feet (115 m).
Choose the Best Trucking School Brierfield AL
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of 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 big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need 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 trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Brierfield AL.
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