How to Decide on a Truck Driver School near Section Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Section AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Section home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations 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 cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Section AL, a driver must obtain 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 choose a truck driver school, we will highlight 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). Below are brief descriptions for the 2 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 more 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 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. A few 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 might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Section AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Section AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common 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 quality, and that they will be given 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 course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked 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 Section AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors 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 receiving the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Section AL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though 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 important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will furnish ample 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, 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. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Section AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships 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 freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Section AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Section AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Section AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Section AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Section AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Section Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Section is a town in Jackson County, Alabama, United States and is included in the Chattanooga-Cleveland-Dalton, TN-GA-AL Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 770, an increase of one person (769) from 2000. Section is located on top of Sand Mountain.
Section is located on land where the Cherokee once hunted and lived. The community was originally known as Mt. Zion when the first post office was established. There were communities such as Kirby's Creek, Gossets Hollow, and Fern Cliff. These communities came together to form the Town of Section. Pioneer settlers came in 1862 to Section, in large numbers. Settlers were required to live on the land for five years before claiming the property as their own. It became known later as "Section" because it was the location of a square-mile parcel of land, known as the 16th Section, required by the federal government to be set aside in support of public schools. Bort Harrison ran a 6-horsepower, water-powered flour and grist mill in 1886, and the first store in the community was built in 1889. The first school was built in the area before 1890, which was the year it burned. Its successor lasted 25 years before it also burned. Section was cited as having incorporated in 1910, but must have dis-incorporated prior to 1920 as it did not appear on either census. On the 1950 U.S. Census rolls, it stated Section incorporated in 1946.
Section is located at 34°34′41″N 85°59′17″W / 34.57806°N 85.98806°W / 34.57806; -85.98806 (34.578155, -85.988114). The town is situated along State Route 35, northwest of Rainsville and southeast of Scottsboro. It lies along the western edge of Sand Mountain, and several points in the town, including Weathington Park, offer dramatic views of the Tennessee River and valley to the west. State Route 71 intersects State Route 35 in Section, connecting the area with Dutton and the Pisgah area to the northeast.
Select the Right Truck Driver School Section AL
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Section AL.
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