How to Choose a Truck Driving School near Frisco City Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Frisco City AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Frisco City residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow 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 discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Frisco City AL, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick 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). Following are brief summaries for 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 Commercial Drivers License 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 may also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Frisco City AL trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Frisco City AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated 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 Frisco City AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out 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 local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, 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 trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Frisco City AL schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Frisco City AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Frisco City AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Frisco City AL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Frisco City AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Frisco City AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. 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 must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Frisco City AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Frisco City Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Frisco City, Alabama
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.1 square miles (10.5 km2), of which 4.0 square miles (10.4 km2) is land and 0.0077 square miles (0.02 km2), or 0.24%, is water.
What would become Frisco City started out as two mid-19th century communities named Lufkin and Snider. It initially incorporated as the town of Jones Mill in 1909. It was named for the owner of the local grist mill. Four years later on November 4, 1913, the town was renamed as Roy for Roy Megargel, owner of the Gulf, Florida, and Alabama Railroad (GFA). The renaming was done on the Me lplcondition that "Roy" would receive a rail line to the Town.
When Megargel failed to deliver on his promise, the town reverted to its name of Jones Mill in 1919 (also referred to as Jones Mills plural). Megargel failed to keep his name on Jones Mill, but later received a community named for him, that of Megargel, a census-designated place as of 2010[update].
Pick the Ideal CDL School Frisco City AL
Choosing the right trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation 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 several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Frisco City AL.
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