How to Pick a CDL Training School near Phil Campbell Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Phil Campbell AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Phil Campbell residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective 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 choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address 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 Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Phil Campbell AL, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Phil Campbell AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Phil Campbell AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Phil Campbell AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, 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 personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Phil Campbell AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing 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? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. After all, 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 tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Phil Campbell AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with a wide range of 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 work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Phil Campbell 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 permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Phil Campbell AL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Phil Campbell AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Phil Campbell AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Phil Campbell AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Phil Campbell Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Phil Campbell, Alabama
Phil Campbell is located in southeastern Franklin County at 34°21′05″N 87°42′27″W / 34.351505°N 87.707414°W / 34.351505; -87.707414.Alabama State Route 13 passes through the town, leading north 12 miles (19 km) to Russellville and south 12 miles (19 km) to Haleyville.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,091 people, 458 households, and 317 families residing in the town. The population density was 267.4 people per square mile (103.2/km²). There were 535 housing units at an average density of 131.1 per square mile (50.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.99% White, 0.27% Native American, 0.18% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. 0.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 458 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.4% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 28.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.94.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Phil Campbell AL
Choosing the right truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might 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 trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Phil Campbell AL.
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