How to Find a Trucking School near Cardiff Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Cardiff AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Cardiff residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Cardiff AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 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. A few 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 operate specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Cardiff AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are a few additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Cardiff AL area are accredited due to the rigorous 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 certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver 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. Having said that, even the best of Cardiff AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly 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 be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Cardiff AL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Cardiff AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver 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 maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Cardiff AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Cardiff AL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend 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 accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Cardiff AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Cardiff 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Cardiff AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Cardiff Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Cardiff is a town in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States west of Gardendale. At the 2010 census the population was 55, placing it as the least-populated incorporated area in Jefferson County. It is named after the capital of Wales. It is one of four Jefferson County cities named after cities in Great Britain, the others being Birmingham, Leeds and Brighton.
Cardiff is located at 33°38′43″N 86°55′59″W / 33.64528°N 86.93306°W / 33.64528; -86.93306 (33.645384, −86.932965). on Five Mile Creek, a tributary of the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River. It is immediately downstream of Brookside. The region is part of the Cumberland Plateau, with shallow but deeply incised stream valleys dissecting sedimentary rock, including significant seams of bituminous coal.
As of the census of 2000, there were 82 people, 33 households, and 26 families residing in the town. The population density was 401.3 people per square mile (158.3/km2). There were 38 housing units at an average density of 186.0 per square mile (73.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 93.90% White and 6.10% Black or African American.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School Cardiff AL
Choosing the right truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might 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 select an independent truck driver 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 no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Cardiff AL.
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