Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Melvin AL

How to Decide on a CDL Driving School near Melvin Alabama

Melvin AL truck driving school campusCongrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Melvin AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Melvin residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.

Which CDL Will You Require?

long haul tractor trailer in Melvin ALIn order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Melvin AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries of the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 more 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 operate certain types of vehicles, including 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 qualified to operate.

How to Research a Trucking School

Questions to ask Melvin AL truck driving schoolsWhen you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Melvin AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional points that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Melvin AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Melvin 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 track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker 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 trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Melvin AL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide ample 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 necessary training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Melvin AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific 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 relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Melvin AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other 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 Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Melvin AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Melvin AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Melvin 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 a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Melvin AL?

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

Al Melvin

Choose the Right Trucking School Melvin AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Melvin ALPicking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need 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 select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Melvin AL.

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