How to Pick a Truck Driver School near Coker Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Coker AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Coker residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge 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 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 discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Coker AL, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address 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). Below are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 CDL is needed 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Coker AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Coker AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Coker AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following 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 individual attention 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 teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Coker AL schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Coker AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver 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 numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility 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 many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Coker AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Coker AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Coker AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Coker AL area trade or technical 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 navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Coker AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Coker Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Bryant Jacob "Jake" Coker (born August 4, 1992) is a former American football quarterback. He played college football at Florida State and Alabama. He won the national championship with the Alabama Crimson Tide in his senior year in 2015.
Coker attended St. Paul's Episcopal School in Mobile, Alabama. He played both football and basketball. He was ranked by Rivals.com as the 18th best pro-style quarterback recruit in his class. He committed to Florida State University in June 2010.
Coker was redshirted as a freshman in 2010. As a backup to EJ Manuel in 2011, he appeared in three games, completing three-of-five passes for 45 yards and one touchdown. As a redshirt sophomore, Coker competed with Jameis Winston for the starting quarterback job in 2013. Winston won the job and Coker was his backup until a knee injury in November caused him to miss the rest of the season. He had appeared in six games, going 18 of 36 for 250 yards and one interception.
Pick the Ideal CDL School Coker AL
Picking the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want 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 truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Coker AL.
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