How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Burnwell Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Burnwell AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Burnwell home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional 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 address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Burnwell AL, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify 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 type 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 explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is required 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. 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 might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Burnwell AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Burnwell AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Burnwell AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact 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 should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk 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 obtaining the personal instruction 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 insists 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 professionally takes time. The majority of Burnwell AL schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking 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 operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Burnwell AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different 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 surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Burnwell AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Burnwell AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Make sure 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, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Burnwell AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Burnwell AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Burnwell AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Burnwell Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Walker County, Alabama
Walker County is a county in the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 67,023. Its county seat is Jasper. Its name is in honor of John Williams Walker, a member of the United States Senate.
Walker County was established on December 26, 1823, and formed from sections of Marion and Tuscaloosa counties. It was named after Senator John Walker, who represented Alabama in the U.S. Senate from 1819 to 1822. The county was greatly reduced in size on February 12, 1850, when its northern half became the county Winston. Jasper is the county seat, named after William Jasper, a Revolutionary War hero from South Carolina.
Walker County has sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They include the Bankhead House, Boshell's Mill, the First United Methodist Church of Jasper, the Gilchrist House, the Jasper Downtown Historic District, the Stephenson House, and Walker County Hospital.
Select the Best CDL School Burnwell AL
Selecting the right truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want 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 choose 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 decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Burnwell AL.
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