How to Select a Trucking School near Guin Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Guin AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Guin home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on 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 eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Guin AL, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply 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 focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as 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 more 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 needed 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 drivers may be qualified to operate 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 require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Guin AL trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Guin AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty 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 program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Guin AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Guin 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 Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though 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 instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish lots 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Guin AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff 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 starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Guin AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Guin AL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend 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 obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at 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 companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Guin AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Guin 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 least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Guin AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Guin Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Guin is a city in Marion County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL Combined Statistical Area. It incorporated in December 1889. It is the birthplace of the band Scufflegrit. At the 2010 census the population was 2,376. On July 13, 2010, the citizens of Guin voted to become the first city in Marion County, since Prohibition, to allow the sale of alcohol.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,389 people, 1,027 households, and 666 families residing in the city. The population density was 191.5 people per square mile (74.0/km²). There were 1,168 housing units at an average density of 93.6 per square mile (36.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.69% White, 11.85% Black or African American, 0.46% Native American, 0.08% Asian, 0.29% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. 0.54% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,027 households out of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.88.
Pick the Right Truck Driving School Guin AL
Picking the right truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving 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 choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Guin AL.
More Trucking Locations in Alabama