How to Find a CDL Driving School near Daviston Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Daviston AL. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Daviston residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams 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 address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Daviston AL, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify 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 focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 may also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including 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 authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Daviston AL trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more things that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Daviston AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty 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 program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Daviston AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts 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 good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Daviston AL schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify 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 ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few 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.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary 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. Contact the Daviston AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Daviston AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Daviston 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 certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Daviston AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Daviston AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Daviston AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Daviston Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Daviston, incorporated February 16, 1887, is believed to be the first incorporated rural town in Tallapoosa County. The first mayor was J.D. Dunn. Daviston was a natural evolution of the opening of Indian lands in 1832. Much of the Federal Horse Path was within Creek Indian lands in 1832. With construction of Chapman Road from West Point, Georgia to Fort Williams, Alabama on the Coosa River, land areas opened up to white settlement.
Daviston flourished with improved roads and became a hub of migration. It had grist and saw mills, a blacksmith shop, buggy shop, coffin shop, general mercantile, public well, federal distillery, six saloons or inns, pharmacy, and doctors. The first land deed found was dated 1836 to S.W. Monk. The post office was established in 1853 with John Davis as the first postmaster. The story told over the years is that he used his own name for the town name. When he submitted the name to the government, due to poor penmanship or a mistake, "Davis Town" became Daviston and has since remained.
In 1883, Walker Allen and his twin, Walter, moved to Daviston. Walker Allen was elected principal of Daviston School. In 1884, a wooden two-story building was started on land given by J.T. Moncus to be called Daviston College. It became a high school around 1912. The building burned in 1923. Another building was built and burned before being used. A third building was constructed in 1923 and received accreditation that year. Lillie Thompson, who graduated in 1916, was the first graduate of Daviston High School.
Select the Best CDL School Daviston AL
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an essential 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 a number of options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company 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 soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Daviston AL.
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