Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Point Clear AL

How to Find a CDL Driving School near Point Clear Alabama

Point Clear AL truck driving school campusCongratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Point Clear AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Point Clear home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified 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 address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.

Which CDL Will You Require?

long haul tractor trailer in Point Clear ALTo drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Point Clear AL, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick 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 for the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.

How to Research a CDL School

Questions to ask Point Clear AL truck driving schoolsWhen you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Point Clear AL trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are a few more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Point Clear 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 obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure 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. However, even the top Point Clear AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement 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 trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.

How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Point Clear AL schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.

How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide lots of 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 operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important 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 differs between 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 Point Clear AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different 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 giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Point Clear AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Point Clear AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Point Clear AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Point Clear AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out 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 completed.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Point Clear AL?

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

Point Clear, Alabama

Point Clear is an unincorporated census-designated place (CDP) in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 2,125.[3] It is part of the Daphne–Fairhope–Foley Micropolitan Statistical Area.

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 1,876 people, 741 households, and 546 families residing in the community. The population density was 331.1 people per square mile (127.7/km²). There were 997 housing units at an average density of 176.0 per square mile (67.9/km²). The racial makeup of the community was 56.13% White, 42.70% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.05% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 741 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 15.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 23.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 2.98.

Pick the Best Truck Driving School Point Clear AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Point Clear ALChoosing the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills 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 receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower 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 decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Point Clear AL.

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