Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Enterprise AL

How to Pick a Truck Driving School near Enterprise Alabama

Enterprise AL truck driving school campusCongratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Enterprise AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Enterprise home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?

long haul tractor trailer in Enterprise ALIn order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Enterprise AL, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are brief explanations for the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 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 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.

How to Assess a Trucking School

Questions to ask Enterprise AL truck driving schoolsAfter you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Enterprise AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are some additional points that you should research while carrying out 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 Enterprise AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Enterprise AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.

How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following 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 getting the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Enterprise AL schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although 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 vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary between 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. Contact the Enterprise AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular 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 having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Enterprise AL schools you are contemplating 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 truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Enterprise AL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Enterprise AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Enterprise AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Enterprise AL?

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

Enterprise, Alabama

Enterprise is a city in the southeastern part of Coffee County near the southwestern part of Dale County in the southeastern part of Alabama in the Southern United States. The population was 26,562 at the 2010 census.[2] Enterprise is the primary city of the Enterprise Micropolitan Statistical Area (with the portion of the city located in Dale County part of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area), and is also part of the Dothan-Enterprise-Ozark Combined Statistical Area.

Enterprise is famous for the Boll Weevil Monument, a large monument of a woman holding a boll weevil, which is located in the middle of Main Street. The city erected the statue because the destruction of the cotton crop by the boll weevil had led to agricultural diversity, starting with peanuts and more prosperity than had ever come from cotton alone. It is said to be the only statue to an insect pest in the world. Enterprise is right outside Fort Rucker, an Army base which is the home of Army Aviation.

The founder of Enterprise, John Henry Carmichael, first settled there in 1881. Carmichael opened a store, which attracted more settlers to the area, and by the next year a post office was relocated from the settlement of Drake Eye to the north to Enterprise. In 1896, with 250 people having settled there, the city of Enterprise incorporated. Soon afterward, the Alabama Midland Railway came to Enterprise, bringing with it opportunities for commerce and growth. By 1906, ten years after the city incorporated, its population had grown to 3,750.[4]

Pick the Best Truck Driver School Enterprise AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Enterprise ALChoosing the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may 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 enroll in an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Enterprise AL.

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