How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Mulga Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Mulga AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Mulga residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll get the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Mulga AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Mulga AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are some more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Mulga AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated 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. 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Mulga AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Mulga AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. 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.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates among 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 Mulga AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Mulga AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving 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 benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Mulga AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Mulga AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Mulga 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 examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Mulga AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Mulga Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Mulga is a town in western Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in 1947. This town is north from the Birmingham suburb of Pleasant Grove. It includes the community of Bayview. At its 2010 census the population was 836, down from its peak population of 973 in 2000. Its communities were damaged by an F5 tornado on April 8, 1998.
As of the census of 2000, there were 973 people, 390 households, and 276 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,604.2 people per square mile (615.9/km²). There were 425 housing units at an average density of 700.7 per square mile (269.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 85.10% White, 13.16% Black or African American, 0.62% Native American, 0.31% Asian, and 0.82% from two or more races. 0.10% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 390 households out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 16.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% were non-families. 27.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.04.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School Mulga AL
Selecting the appropriate truck driver 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 shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash 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 choose an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Mulga AL.
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