Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Daphne AL

How to Select a Truck Driver School near Daphne Alabama

Daphne AL truck driving school campusCongratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Daphne AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Daphne residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?

long haul tractor trailer in Daphne ALTo operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Daphne AL, an operator needs to obtain 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 pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions for the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 CDL is required to operate 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. Several 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 need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.

How to Assess a CDL School

Questions to ask Daphne AL truck driving schoolsOnce you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Daphne AL trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Daphne AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost 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. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Daphne 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 track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.

How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal attention 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 professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Daphne AL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will furnish ample 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Daphne AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Daphne AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Daphne 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 particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Daphne AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Daphne AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Daphne AL?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Daphne Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Daphne, Alabama

Daphne (/ˈdæfniː/) is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, on the eastern shoreline of Mobile Bay. The city is located along I-10, 11 miles east of Mobile and 170 miles southwest of the state capital of Montgomery. The 2010 United States Census lists the population of the city as 21,570, making Daphne the most populous city in Baldwin County.[4] It is a principal city of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley metropolitan area, which includes all of Baldwin County.

The inhabited history of what is now called Daphne dates at least to the Paleo-Indian period and Native American tribes around 9000 BC.[5] Modern-day Daphne is a thriving suburb of nearby Mobile. Daphne has adopted the nickname ″The Jubilee City″ in recognition of its status as one of the locations of the Mobile Bay jubilee. The only other place jubilees occur is in Tokyo Bay.

Daphne and the surrounding regions have been populated since from at least 9,000 BCE.[6] European settlers eventually displaced the Native Americans.[6] After a variety of wars and treaties the area became part of the United States in 1814. Except for a period under the flag of the Confederate States of America, Daphne and its environs have remained part of the United States until this time.[7] From Native American, to the Spanish, French and British, the city has seen a lengthy parade of historic influences which gives Daphne its present character.

Select the Best Truck Driver School Daphne AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Daphne ALSelecting the right truck driver school is a critical first step to starting 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 available and understanding them is crucial 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 might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Daphne AL.

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