How to Find a Trucking School near Coffeeville Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Coffeeville AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Coffeeville home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Coffeeville AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 explanations of 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. Several of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate 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 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Coffeeville AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Coffeeville AL area are accredited due to 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 required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Coffeeville AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, 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 considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Coffeeville AL schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide plenty of 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Coffeeville AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Coffeeville AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive 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 driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Coffeeville AL school you choose 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 teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Coffeeville AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Coffeeville AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Coffeeville AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Coffeeville Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2000, there were 360 people, 165 households, and 97 families residing in the town. The population density was 79.7 people per square mile (30.8/km2). There were 209 housing units at an average density of 46.3 per square mile (17.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 61.11% White and 38.89% Black or African American.
There were 165 households out of which 22.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.2% were non-families. 40.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the town, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 23.1% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.3 males.
Choose the Ideal Truck Driver School Coffeeville AL
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big 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 lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker 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 choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Coffeeville AL.
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And as the economy grows, the need for truck drivers will too. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be over 400,000 job openings between 2016 and 2026.** If you’re ready to jump in the fast lane and head for a lucrative career, let us help you find a CDL training school. CDL driving schools get you there.