Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Sulligent AL

How to Decide on a CDL Training School near Sulligent Alabama

Sulligent AL truck driving school campusCongratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Sulligent AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to think about before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Sulligent residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?

long haul tractor trailer in Sulligent ALTo operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Sulligent AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries for the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 CDL is needed to operate 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 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.

How to Research a Truck Driving School

Questions to ask Sulligent AL truck driving schoolsOnce you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Sulligent AL trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some more things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Sulligent AL area are accredited due to the demanding 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 obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated 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 Sulligent AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.

How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Sulligent AL schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Sulligent AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Sulligent 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 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Sulligent AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Sulligent AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Sulligent AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Sulligent AL?

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

Sulligent, Alabama

Sulligent is a city in Lamar County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 1,927, down from its record high of 2,151 in 2000. From 1910-1950 and again in 2000, it was the largest community in Lamar County before losing the distinction both times to the county seat of Vernon.[3] The name is derived from railroad personnel.

Sulligent was first called "Elliott", in honor of the chief engineer of the Kansas City-Memphis-Birmingham Railroad, then renamed one month later with the portmanteau “Sulligent”, in honor of Sullivan, the superintendent of the railroad, and Sargeant, the passenger agent of the railroad.

The production and processing of cotton was an important industry. The primary business in Sulligent in the mid-1890s was cotton, with over 2500 bales ginned each year and shipped via the railroad. At one time, Sulligent Cotton Oil Company was known as the largest cotton gin under one roof.

Select the Right CDL School Sulligent AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Sulligent ALSelecting the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital 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 manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Sulligent AL.

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