How to Find a Truck Driving School near Citronelle Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Citronelle AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Citronelle home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Citronelle AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class 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 short explanations for 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. 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 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. 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 may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Citronelle AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Citronelle AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Citronelle AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Citronelle AL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques 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 professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Citronelle AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Citronelle AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Citronelle AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm 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 national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Citronelle AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Citronelle AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Citronelle AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Citronelle Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The area now known as Citronelle was first explored by the French in the 18th century. The land was found to possess healing herbs and mineral springs. The area was settled in 1811 and established as a jurisdiction (incorporated) in 1892. The name "Citronelle" is French and is derived from the citronella plant, which grows throughout the town. In the late 19th century, the town became a popular resort destination because of the climate, herbs, and healing waters. Many hotels were built to accommodate the surge of visitors.
On May 4, 1865, one of the last significant Confederate armies was surrendered by Lieutenant General Richard Taylor under the "Surrender Oak." This was the third in a series of five major surrenders that ended the war. The two previous surrenders occurred at Appomattox Court House, Virginia between General Robert E. Lee and General Ulysses S. Grant; and the second and largest at Bennett Place near Durham, North Carolina between General William T. Sherman and General Joseph E. Johnston.
Citronelle sits atop the Citronelle Dome, a salt dome that is still rising, as shown by the centrifugal drainage of streams away from the center. In 1955 oil was discovered in this geologic structure at a greater depth than had previously been considered as feasible, and so the Citronelle Dome was among the first of many "deep" oil fields. The discovery well produced from the Glen Rose Formation at a depth of 10,879 ft (3,315.9 m).
Choose the Best Truck Driving School Citronelle AL
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Citronelle AL.
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