How to Find a CDL Driving School near Camp Hill Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Camp Hill AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Camp Hill residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations 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 discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Camp Hill AL, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief summaries of the two 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. 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 drive 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. Some 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 specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Camp Hill AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Camp Hill AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Camp Hill AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use 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 provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. 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 individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Camp Hill AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate 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 driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Camp Hill AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific 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 having relationships with many different 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver 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 only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Camp Hill AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Camp Hill AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Camp Hill AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Camp Hill AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are examining 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 Camp Hill AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Camp Hill Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Camp Hill, Alabama
Camp Hill is a town in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, United States. It was incorporated in 1895. At the 2010 census the population was 1,014, down from 1,273 in 2000. Camp Hill is the home to Lyman Ward Military Academy.
On July 15, 1931, a white mob raided a meeting of the Alabama Sharecroppers' Union which was being held in a church in Camp Hill. A shootout between the mob and union members followed; SCU member Ralph Gray was murdered, several men and women were injured, and at least thirty black men were later arrested (at least four others were lynched). According to Hosea Hudson, all those arrested were eventually released without trial due to public and international pressure—albeit too late to have a chance at raising a crop that year.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,273 people, 519 households, and 337 families residing in the town. The population density was 140.4 people per square mile (54.2/km2). There were 614 housing units at an average density of 67.7 per square mile (26.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 84.92% Black or African American, 14.38% White, 0.31% from other races, and 0.39% from two or more races. 1.02% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Pick the Best CDL School Camp Hill AL
Choosing the right truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation 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 many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Camp Hill AL.
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