How to Pick a Truck Driver School near Hurtsboro Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Hurtsboro AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Hurtsboro home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Hurtsboro AL, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Hurtsboro AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Hurtsboro AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense 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 certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 satisfy the very high standards 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 business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Hurtsboro AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out 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 associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Hurtsboro AL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will provide sufficient 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 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 be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Hurtsboro AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Hurtsboro AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Hurtsboro 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 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 fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing 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 firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Hurtsboro AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Hurtsboro AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining 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 Hurtsboro AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Hurtsboro Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Hurtsboro is a town in Russell County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 553, down from 592 in 2000. It was founded in 1857 as Hurtsville and named for Joel Hurt, Sr. (whose son, Joel Hurt, was an important developer of Atlanta, Georgia). A railroad spur from Columbus, Georgia was completed the next year. It was incorporated in 1872 and in 1883 the town name was changed to Hurtsboro.
As of the census of 2000, there were 592 people, 283 households, and 161 families residing in the town. The population density was 573.7 people per square mile (221.9/km²). There were 342 housing units at an average density of 331.5 per square mile (128.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 70.27% Black or African American, 29.39% White, and 0.34% from two or more races. 0.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 283 households out of which 25.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.1% were married couples living together, 23.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.1% were non-families. 41.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.86.
Select the Right Truck Driver School Hurtsboro AL
Selecting the right trucking school is a critical first step to starting 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 several options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to consider 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Hurtsboro AL.
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