How to Select a Truck Driving School near Alberta Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Alberta AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Alberta home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Alberta AL, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 select a truck driver school, we will address 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 short explanations of the two 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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. 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 need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Alberta AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are a few additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Alberta AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Alberta AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Alberta AL schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide sufficient 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Alberta AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Alberta AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing 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 Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Alberta AL school you enroll in offers 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 commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Alberta AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Alberta AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out 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 completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Alberta AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Alberta Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Alberta (/ælˈbɜːrtə/ (listen)) is a western province of Canada. With an estimated population of 4,067,175 as of 2016 census, it is Canada's fourth most populous province and the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces. Its area is about 660,000 square kilometres (250,000 sq mi). Alberta and its neighbour Saskatchewan were districts of the Northwest Territories until they were established as provinces on September 1, 1905. The premier has been Rachel Notley since May 2015.
Alberta is bounded by the provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, and the U.S. state of Montana to the south. Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single U.S. state and one of only two landlocked provinces. It has a predominantly humid continental climate, with stark contrasts over a year; but seasonal temperature average swings are smaller than in areas further east, due to winters being warmed by occasional chinook winds bringing sudden warming.
Alberta's capital, Edmonton, is near the geographic centre of the province and is the primary supply and service hub for Canada's crude oil, the Athabasca oil sands and other northern resource industries.
Choose the Best CDL School Alberta AL
Choosing the ideal trucking school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Alberta AL.
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