How to Select a CDL Training School near Perote Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Perote 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 found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Perote residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest 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 legally within the USA and Perote AL, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class 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). Following are short summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Perote AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are a few more things 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 ? Very few truck driver schools in the Perote AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace 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 know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed 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 best of Perote AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Perote AL schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a good 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 Perote AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement 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 rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Perote AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Perote AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out 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 Perote AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Perote AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Perote AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Perote Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
"This community, settled during the mid-1830s, was first called Fulford's Cross Roads, then Missouri Cross Roads when a post office was established here in 1846. The name Perote, adopted in 1850, was suggested by veterans returning from the Mexican War (1846-48), who remembered a citadel in Mexico by that name. Incorporation followed in 1858. Early settlers in the area, who came primarily from the Carolinas and Georgia, included the following families: Boykin, Reeves, Sellers, Crossley, Blue, Harp, Locke, Peach, Hixon, Culver, Johnson, Adair, Ardis, McCall, Rumph, Brabham, Miles, Cameron, Starke, Wilson, Walker and Ivey. Methodist and Baptist churches were among the first structures in the community, around which much of the social life centered, including "protracted meetings" – revivals."
"Perote grew rapidly in the 1850s so that by 1860 the community was thriving with several doctors, stores, a carriage factory, a Masonic lodge, and a school. At the beginning of the War Between the States (1861–65), the school numbered about 150 students. Many of the young men from the school served in the Perote Guards, organized in 1859 as war clouds gathered. They went off to war as part of the 1st Alabama Infantry Regiment with uniforms and a flag handmade by the women they left behind.
The community's fortunes fell following the war as cotton cultivation, the area's traditional leading economic pursuit, receded in importance. By-passed by the railroad and experiencing several disastrous fires, Perote suffered a steady decline in business activity and population."
Select the Ideal Trucking School Perote AL
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Perote AL.
More Trucking Locations in Alabama