How to Find a Trucking School near Sayre Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Sayre AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Sayre home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest 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?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Sayre AL, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are short summaries of 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 CDL is needed to operate 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 specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Sayre AL trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary 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 equally if not more important. So following are several additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Sayre AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver 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. Having said that, even the top Sayre AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn 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 regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, 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 trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding 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 period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Sayre AL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide lots of 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable 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 Sayre AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some truck driving 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 offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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 choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Sayre AL schools you are contemplating 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 grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Sayre AL school you select provides 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 prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Sayre AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Sayre 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 assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Sayre AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Sayre Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre
Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre (August 28, 1887 – January 15, 1933) was a daughter of US President Woodrow Wilson and Ellen Louise Axson. She was a political activist, and "She worked vigorously for women's suffrage, social issues, and to promote her father's call for a League of Nations, and emerged as a force in the Massachusetts Democratic Party."
Jessie Woodrow Wilson was born in Gainesville, Georgia, the second daughter of Woodrow and Ellen Axson Wilson. She was the middle sister of Margaret Woodrow Wilson and Eleanor Wilson McAdoo. Wilson was educated privately in Princeton, New Jersey and at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. She was a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority. After her graduation from Goucher, she worked at a settlement home in Philadelphia for three years.
In July 1913, four months after her father assumed the presidency, the Wilsons announced Jessie's engagement to Francis Bowes Sayre, Sr. Her fiance, a 1911 graduate of Harvard Law School, was the son of Robert Sayre, builder of the Lehigh Valley Railroad and organizer and general manager of the Bethlehem Iron Works. At the time of their engagement he was serving in the office of a district attorney. Their November 25, 1913, wedding was the thirteenth White House wedding, and the first since Alice Roosevelt and Nicholas Longworth were wed in 1906.
Select the Right CDL School Sayre AL
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance 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 if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Sayre AL.
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