How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Townley Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Townley AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Townley residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Townley AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are brief summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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. 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 certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Townley AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are a few additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Townley AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet 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 typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Townley AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good 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 teachers 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 receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Townley AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method 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 completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary 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. Check with the Townley AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular 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 having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work 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 ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Townley AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Townley AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared 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 must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Townley AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Townley AL area vocational or trade 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 least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Townley AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Townley Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Michael Vernon Townley (born December 5, 1942) is a former agent of the Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional currently living under terms of the US federal witness protection program. An operative of the Chilean secret police, Townley confessed, was convicted, and served 62 months in prison in the United States for the 1976 Washington, D.C., assassination of Orlando Letelier, former Chilean ambassador to the United States. As part of his plea bargain, Townley received immunity from further prosecution; he was not extradited to Argentina to stand trial for the 1974 assassination of Chilean general Carlos Prats and his wife.
In 1993, Townley was also convicted, in absentia, by an Italian court for carrying out the 1975 Rome murder attempt on Bernardo Leighton. Townley worked in producing chemical weapons for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's use against political opponents along with Colonel Gerardo Huber and the DINA biochemist Eugenio Berríos.
According to head of DINA Manuel Contreras, Townley returned to Chile at the end of 1973, working for the CIA, with the intent of receiving from the "Highest National Authority, in agreement with what had already been planned by the CIA ... the order to act in direct, personal and exclusive form, without intermediaries, against General Prats in Buenos Aires".[page needed] Prats and his wife were killed with a car bomb in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1974. Contreras also said that Townley traveled with a false passport provided by the CIA under the name of Kenneth Enyart.[page needed] Contreras stated Townley was aided by CIA agents, as well as Argentine and Chilean agents, and paramilitary groups such as the Triple A and the Grupo Milicias. Contreras said he thought the CIA planned the assassination because it feared Prats would try to overthrow Pinochet's dictatorship with the help of the Argentine Army, thus leading to a war between Chile and Argentina which would constitute "a difficult problem for the United States in the Cold War era".
Pick the Right Truck Driver School Townley AL
Choosing the right trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to consider 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 select an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Townley AL.
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