How to Pick a Truck Driving School near Stanton Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Stanton AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Stanton home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Stanton AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions of 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 CDL is required to operate 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. Some 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Stanton AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are a few more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Stanton AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Stanton AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal 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 professes it can train 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 requires time. Most Stanton AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, 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 laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. 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 furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Stanton AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Stanton AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Stanton AL school you choose provides 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 prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Stanton AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Stanton AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Stanton AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Stanton Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton (born November 8, 1989) is an American outfielder and designated hitter for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his major league debut on June 8, 2010 as a member of the Miami Marlins, where he played until the end of the 2017 season. Stanton has twice led the National League (NL) in home runs; he hit 59 home runs in 2017, the most in 16 years. Before 2012, he was known as Mike Stanton. Known for his prodigious physical strength and ability to regularly hit long home runs, Stanton stands 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) tall and weighs 245 pounds (111 kg). He bats and throws right-handed.
Stanton is originally from the Greater Los Angeles region. He graduated from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks before the Marlins selected him in the second round of the 2007 MLB draft. In 2017, Stanton led the major leagues in home runs (59), runs batted in (RBI) (132), and slugging percentage (.631), winning the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award. A four-time MLB All-Star, Stanton has twice won both the NL Hank Aaron and outfield Silver Slugger Award after leading the league in home runs.
In November 2014, the Marlins signed Stanton to the richest total dollar value contract in team sports history; the contract is worth $325 million over 13 years. Following the 2017 season, Stanton was traded to the New York Yankees.
Select the Right Truck Driver School Stanton AL
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want 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 select an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Stanton AL.
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