How to Decide on a CDL Driving School near Repton Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Repton AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Repton residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified 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 address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Repton AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes 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 driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. Some 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Repton AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Repton AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? 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 typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Repton AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Repton AL schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method is to visit 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 satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Repton AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Repton AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 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 provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating 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 higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Repton AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For 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 working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Repton AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Repton AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Repton AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Repton Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2000, there were 280 people, 103 households, and 77 families residing in the town. The population density was 537.5 people per square mile (207.9/km²). There were 129 housing units at an average density of 247.6 per square mile (95.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 66.79% White, 31.79% Black or African American, 0.71% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. 0.71% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 103 households out of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.2% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.21.
In the town, the population was spread out with 26.8% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.4 males.
Pick the Best Truck Driver School Repton AL
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Repton AL.
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