How to Select a CDL Driving School near Langston Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Langston AL. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Langston residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Langston AL, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss 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 brief summaries of 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 greater 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 Commercial Drivers License 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Langston AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole 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 additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Langston AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, 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 certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Langston AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Langston AL schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide 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 driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Langston AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Langston AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted 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 battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Langston AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. 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? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Langston AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Langston 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Langston AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Langston Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Langston is a town in Jackson County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Chattanooga-Cleveland-Dalton, TN-GA-AL Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 270, up from 254. Langston initially incorporated in 1899. At some point after 1920, it disincorporated and did not reincorporate again until 1980 (after the census was taken that year, since it did not appear on it). Its peak population was in 1920, when it had a population of 500.
Langston was settled in the 1810s, and was initially known as "Coffeetown" after the Coffee brothers, who were among the early settlers. A post office was established in 1845 with Langston Coffee as the first postmaster. In 1869, most of Coffeetown's residents moved to Texas, and the following year, James Morgan sold lots for the creation of a new town. The new town was named "Langston" after Langston Coffee.
Langston initially thrived as a river port along the Tennessee River, eventually growing to include nine stores and a blacksmith shop. With the rise of railroad traffic in the late 19th century and automobile traffic in the early 20th century, however, the town began to decline. The construction of Guntersville Dam by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the late 1930s flooded a significant portion of the town, further reducing its population.
Choose the Right Truck Driver School Langston AL
Choosing the right truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new profession 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 crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Langston AL.
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