How to Find a Truck Driver School near Brantley Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Brantley AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Brantley home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Brantley AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 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 required to drive 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Brantley AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Brantley AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed 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 Brantley 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 employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach 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. Most Brantley AL schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing 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? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Brantley AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Brantley AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Brantley AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Brantley AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Brantley AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance 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 need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Brantley AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Brantley Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
After starring for the Fort Pierce Central High School baseball team, the Milwaukee Brewers selected Brantley in the 2005 MLB Draft. During the 2008 season, Brantley was traded to the Cleveland Indians along with other prospects for CC Sabathia. He made his MLB debut with the Indians in 2009. In 2014, Brantley was named an MLB All-Star and he won the Silver Slugger Award.
Brantley was born in Bellevue, Washington. His father, Mickey Brantley, played in Major League Baseball (MLB), and was a member of the Seattle Mariners at the time Michael was born. Michael was raised in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Starting at age seven, Brantley played in Southwestern Port St. Lucie Little League Baseball. When Mickey worked as the hitting coach for the New York Mets in 1999, Michael got to spend time around the Mets. Brantley attended Central High School in Fort Pierce, Florida, where he played for the baseball and golf teams. In his senior year for the baseball team, he had a .595 batting average, scored 22 runs, recorded 12 runs batted in and 32 stolen bases. Brantley signed a National Letter of Intent to play college baseball for the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers after high school.
The Milwaukee Brewers selected Brantley in the seventh round, with the 205th overall selection, of the 2005 MLB Draft. After he signed with the Brewers, Brantley played for their Rookie-level affiliates, the Helena Brewers of the Pioneer League and Arizona Brewers of the Arizona League. He batted .347 with 14 stolen bases in 44 games for Arizona, and .324 in 10 games for Helena.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School Brantley AL
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn 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. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Brantley AL.
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