How to Pick a CDL Training School near Faunsdale Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Faunsdale AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Faunsdale residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Faunsdale AL, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 choose 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 together with 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 required to operate 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 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. A few 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Faunsdale AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are several more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Faunsdale AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking 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. However, even the best of Faunsdale AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Faunsdale AL schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out 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 quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Faunsdale AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Faunsdale AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted 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 battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Faunsdale 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 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Faunsdale AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Faunsdale AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Faunsdale AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Faunsdale Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Faunsdale is a town in Marengo County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 98, up from 87 in 2000. Faunsdale is home to a medium-sized community of Holdeman Mennonites and the only Holdeman Mennonite community in this area of Alabama outside of Greensboro, Alabama. The town is also home to the only Holdeman Mennonite Church in the area, Cedarcrest Mennonite Church.
A post office called Faunsdale has been in operation since 1841. The town was named for nearby Faunsdale Plantation, founded in the 1830s by Messrs Pearson and Henry Augustine Tayloe-local land agent for his brothers Benjamin Ogle Tayloe, William Henry Tayloe, Edward Thornton Tayloe and George Plater Tayloe "considered the most important pioneer cotton planters of the Canebrake, as to the extent of their enterprise there." Faunsdale was incorporated as a town in 1907.
Faunsdale is located at 32°27′33″N 87°35′36″W / 32.45917°N 87.59333°W / 32.45917; -87.59333. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2), all land. The elevation is 220 feet (67 m).
Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Faunsdale AL
Picking the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Faunsdale AL.
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