How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Cecil Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Cecil AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to think about before making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Cecil residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Cecil AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject 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 type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 needed to operate 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. Some 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 certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Cecil AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are several additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Cecil AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense 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 a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Cecil AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Cecil AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may 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 teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a great 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 real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement 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 fluctuates among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Cecil AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Cecil AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third 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 provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Cecil AL school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Cecil AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Cecil AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Cecil AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Cecil Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Cecil Ray Price (April 15, 1938 – May 6, 2001) committed the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner in 1964. At the time of the murders, he was 26 years old and a deputy sheriff in Neshoba County, Mississippi. He was a member of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Although he was never charged with the murders, Price was convicted in October 1967 of violating the civil rights of the three victims. He was sentenced to a six-year prison term and served four and a half years at the Sandstone Federal Penitentiary in Minnesota. Following his release from prison he returned to Philadelphia, Mississippi and worked a variety of jobs. Cecil Price died following a fall from a piece of equipment at his job on May 6, 2001.
On the afternoon of June 21, 1964, Price stopped a blue Ford station wagon on Mississippi Highway 19 for allegedly speeding inside the Philadelphia city limits. Inside the station wagon were three civil rights workers James Chaney, who was driving, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.
Select the Best Trucking School Cecil AL
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation 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 many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money 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 select an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Cecil AL.
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