How to Choose a CDL Training School near Vance Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Vance AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Vance home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Vance AL, a driver needs to attain 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 driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 required to drive 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. 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 may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Vance AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Vance AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated 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 an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, 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 determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Vance AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective 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 next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Vance AL schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will furnish plenty of 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Vance AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Vance AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. 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 accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Vance 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 willing to spend 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Vance AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Vance 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 evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Vance AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Vance Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Joyce Vance (born July 22, 1960) is an American lawyer, who served as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 2009 to 2017. She was one of the first five U.S. Attorneys, and the first female U.S. Attorney, nominated by President Barack Obama.
Vance was born in St. George, Utah, and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles. She received a Bachelor of Arts Magna Cum Laude from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, in 1982 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1985.
Vance was a litigator in private practice at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Washington, DC, before joining the United States Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Alabama in 1991. She spent ten years in the Criminal Division, working on investigations including that of Eric Robert Rudolph, who bombed a Birmingham abortion clinic and killed a police officer and set a string of church fires in the district. She successfully prosecuted five Boaz, Alabama, police officers charged with Conspiracy to Violate Civil Rights. She moved to the Appellate Division in 2002 and became the Chief of that Division in 2005.
Select the Right Truck Driver School Vance AL
Picking the right truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate 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 lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving 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 choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Vance AL.
More Trucking Locations in Alabama
Business Results 1 - 10 of 4