How to Find a Truck Driver School near Furman Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Furman AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Furman residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Furman AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class 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 descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Furman AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are some additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Furman AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Furman AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Furman AL schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Furman AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive 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 rather than maintaining associations 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Furman AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Furman 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 commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Furman AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Furman AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Furman AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Furman Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Jason Furman (born August 18, 1970) is an American economist and professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. On June 10, 2013, Furman was named by President Barack Obama as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). Previously, since January 28, 2009, Furman had served as the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, which followed his role as an advisor to candidate Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. Furman's research and policy focus includes the subjects of taxes, health care, macroeconomic policy, competition and inequality, technology policy, and the U.S. Social Security program.
Born and raised in New York City, Furman is the son of Jay Furman, a real-estate and shopping mall developer, and Gail Furman, a child psychologist. Furman's brother, Jesse Furman is a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Furman graduated from the Dalton School in 1988. In 1992, he graduated with a B.A. in social studies from Harvard, where his freshman year roommate was Matt Damon. He then received an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics. Furman returned to Harvard, where he received an M.A. in government in 1995 and a Ph.D. in economics in 2004. His Ph.D. thesis advisor was N. Gregory Mankiw, who had once also served as chairman of the CEA, during the administration of George W. Bush.
Select the Ideal Trucking School Furman AL
Picking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets 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 vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Furman AL.
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