How to Find a CDL Training School near Jasper Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Jasper AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Jasper residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Jasper AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate 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 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Jasper AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Jasper AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, 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. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to 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 operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Jasper AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Jasper AL schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide plenty of 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential 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. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Jasper AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific 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 associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Jasper AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other 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 Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Jasper AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Jasper AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Jasper AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Jasper AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Jasper Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Jasper is a city in and the county seat ofWalker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, its population was 14,352, up from 14,052 in 2000. It is the county seat of Walker County. The city was once ranked among the world's leading producers of coal.
The first significant growth of the area was realized in 1886, when the Kansas City-Memphis & Birmingham and the Sheffield & Birmingham Railroads were completed through Jasper. The population grew from 200 people in 1886 to more than 3,000 in 1890. In a special edition in 1891, the Mountain Eagle stated there were six coal mines, two sandstone quarries, 400 coke ovens, one foundry and machine shop, two saw mills, one brick works, four hotels, and two banks.
Jasper has several sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These include the John Hollis Bankhead House, First United Methodist Church, Jasper Downtown Historic District, and Walker County Hospital.
Pick the Best Truck Driving School Jasper AL
Choosing the right trucking school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to look into 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 truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Jasper AL.
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