How to Pick a Trucking School near Lawley Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Lawley AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Lawley residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective 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 talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Lawley AL, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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 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 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. Some 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Lawley AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Lawley AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, 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 quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Lawley AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several 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 supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to confirm 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 teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. Also, 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 individual instruction 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Lawley AL schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Lawley AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Lawley AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? 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 permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Lawley AL school you choose 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 instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Lawley AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Lawley AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Lawley AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Lawley Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Clean Language is a technique that is used especially in psychotherapy and coaching, and more recently as a research interview technique. Clean Language helps clients to discover and develop symbols and metaphors without any content introduced by the therapist/coach/interviewer.
Clean Language was devised by David Grove in the 1980s as a result of his work on clinical methods for resolving clients' traumatic memories. Cei Davies Linn was closely involved in the early evolution and development of Grove's work such as Clean Language and Epistemological Metaphors. As James Lawley and Penny Tompkins describe it, Grove "realized that many clients naturally described their symptoms in metaphor, and found that when he enquired about these using [the client's] exact words, their perception of the trauma began to change."
Clean Language also is the basis of Symbolic Modelling, a stand-alone method and process for psychotherapy and coaching, developed by Lawley and Tompkins; Clean Space; and Systemic Modelling, applied in organisational development. Clean Language can also be used in addition to a therapist or coach's existing approach.
Choose the Right Truck Driving School Lawley AL
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need to consider 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 choose an independent trucker 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 in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Lawley AL.
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