How to Find a CDL Driving School near Autaugaville Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Autaugaville AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Autaugaville residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Autaugaville AL, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate 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 drive 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Autaugaville AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Autaugaville AL area are accredited because of the stringent 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 a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Autaugaville 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 track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of 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 takes time. The majority of Autaugaville AL schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out 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 plenty of 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark 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 Autaugaville AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different 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 giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Autaugaville AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent 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 driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Autaugaville AL school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote 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 obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Autaugaville AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Autaugaville AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Autaugaville AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Autaugaville Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2010, there were 870 people, 350 households, and 243 families residing in the town. The population density was 114.2 people per square mile (44.1/km2). There were 412 housing units at an average density of 54.1 per square mile (20.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 66.8% Black or African American, 31.3% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 0.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 350 households of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, 26.0% has a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.
Pick the Right Truck Driver School Autaugaville AL
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an essential 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 shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company 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 entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Autaugaville AL.
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