How to Find a Trucking School near Groveoak Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Groveoak AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Groveoak residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Groveoak AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will address 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). Below are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 CDL is needed 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. Some 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, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Groveoak AL trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Groveoak AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Groveoak AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly 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 relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Groveoak AL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some 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 truck driver school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While 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 receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Groveoak AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous 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 have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Groveoak AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Groveoak AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Groveoak AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Groveoak AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Groveoak AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Groveoak Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Grove Oak, Alabama
Grove Oak has one store, and is surrounded by forests and farmland. There are two Baptist churches. There is a small Masonic lodge and a now-closed junior high school. It also has a restaurant that has been in and out of business several times.
Until about the mid-1970s, it was the center of a farming community and had its own cotton gin. Today, farming is not so much the focus, and most working members of the Grove Oak community drive to factories or other jobs in the larger towns nearby. Limited farming, cattle, and poultry raising takes place in and around the town.
Choose the Ideal Truck Driver School Groveoak AL
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. 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 think about 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 trucker 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 choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Groveoak AL.
More Trucking Locations in Alabama