Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Union Springs AL

How to Pick a CDL Training School near Union Springs Alabama

Union Springs AL truck driving school campusCongratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Union Springs AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Union Springs residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best 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 target in mind, just how do you decide on 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 review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which CDL Should You Get?

long haul tractor trailer in Union Springs ALIn order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Union Springs AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply 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 address Class A and 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). Following are brief summaries for the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 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 greater 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 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 kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.

How to Evaluate a CDL School

Questions to ask Union Springs AL truck driving schoolsOnce you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Union Springs AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Union Springs AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, 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 several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Union Springs AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Union Springs AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with 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.

How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Union Springs AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work 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 receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Union Springs AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Union Springs AL school you enroll in 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 willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm 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, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Union Springs AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Union Springs AL area trade or technical 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 get through the options and forms that must be submitted.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Union Springs AL?

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

Union Springs, Alabama

The area that became Union Springs was first settled by white men after the Creek Indian removal of the 1830s. Twenty-seven springs watered the land, giving rise to the name of Union Springs. The city was incorporated on January 13, 1844. When Bullock County was formed in 1866, voters selected Union Springs as the county seat.[5]

Union Springs is located in southeastern Alabama near the center of Bullock County at 32°8'24.407" North, 85°42'46.094" West (32.140113, -85.712804).[6] The source of the Conecuh River is within the city limits.

The city is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 82 and U.S. Route 29. Route 82 leads east 40 miles (64 km) to Eufaula and northwest 46 miles (74 km) to Montgomery, the state capital. Route 29 leads north 23 miles (37 km) to Tuskegee and southwest 40 miles (64 km) to Troy.

Pick the Right Truck Driving School Union Springs AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Union Springs ALChoosing the right truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Union Springs AL.

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