Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Jacksonville AL

How to Decide on a Truck Driver School near Jacksonville Alabama

Jacksonville AL truck driving school campusCongrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Jacksonville AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Jacksonville residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, 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 purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?

long haul tractor trailer in Jacksonville ALIn order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Jacksonville AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 CDL is required 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. A few 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.

How to Assess a Truck Driving School

Questions to ask Jacksonville AL truck driving schoolsAs soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Jacksonville AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are several additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Jacksonville AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Jacksonville AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing 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 cover more about the teachers in the next segment. 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 getting the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Jacksonville AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish sufficient 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Jacksonville AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from some trucking 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 offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with 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. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Jacksonville AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Jacksonville AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate 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 responsibilities.

Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Jacksonville AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Jacksonville AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Jacksonville AL?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Jacksonville Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Jacksonville, Alabama

Jacksonville is a city in Calhoun County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 12,548,[3] which is a 49% increase since 2000. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. Jacksonville State University is located here, which is a center of commerce and one of the largest employers in the area.

Jacksonville was founded in 1833 on land purchased from Creek Indian Chief "Du-Hoag" Ladiga. First called Drayton, the town was renamed to honor President Andrew Jackson in 1834. There are a couple Civil War monuments in town, including a statue of Major John Pelham in the city cemetery and a statue of a Confederate soldier in the middle of the square. Jacksonville served as the county seat for Calhoun County until the 20th century when it moved to Anniston. Jacksonville State University was founded here in 1883.

An EF3 tornado hit Jacksonville on March 19, 2018, causing extensive damage to the city and Jacksonville State University, almost $42 million in damages.[4] The relatively low amount of casualties, specifically just four injuries, was attributed by some to the fact that the university was on spring break at the time.[5][6] More than 1,000 volunteers assisted in the immediate tornado relief.[7] Caleb Howard, then a senior at Jacksonville State University, said that "[i]t's been amazing to see the university and the community come together." Classes resumed at the university the following month.[6] Although the university's usual site for graduation, Pete Mathews Coliseum, was damaged in the tornado along with over 20 other buildings, the first spring graduation since the tornado proceeded as scheduled on May 4 outside the football stadium. Dr. John Beeler, the university's president, said "It's a joyous event generally because you're celebrating the accomplishments of all your graduates, but it's an even more joyous event because to me it's a celebration of how far we've come in a short time in recovering from these tornadoes."[4]

Pick the Right Trucking School Jacksonville AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Jacksonville ALPicking the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to think about 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 enroll in an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Jacksonville AL.

More Trucking Locations in Alabama

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