How to Select a Trucking School near Deer Park Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Deer Park AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Deer Park home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Deer Park AL, an operator needs to 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 topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight 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). Below are brief explanations of the two 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. 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school 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 operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Deer Park AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are a few additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Deer Park AL area are accredited due to the rigorous 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. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Deer Park AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Deer Park AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through 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? Most importantly, a great 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 tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Deer Park AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous 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 giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Deer Park AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking 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 benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Deer Park AL school you select provides 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 instructor should be prepared to dedicate 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate 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 lower job placement rate or few Deer Park AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Deer Park AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Deer Park AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Deer Park Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Deer (singular and plural) are the hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk (wapiti), the fallow deer and the chital, and the Capreolinae, including the reindeer (caribou), the roe deer and the moose. Female reindeer, and male deer of all species except the Chinese water deer, grow and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned antelope, which are part of a different family (Bovidae) within the same order of even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla).
Deer appear in art from Paleolithic cave paintings onwards, and they have played a role in mythology, religion, and literature throughout history, as well as in heraldry. Their economic importance includes the use of their meat as venison, their skins as soft, strong buckskin, and their antlers as handles for knives. Deer hunting has been a popular activity since at least the Middle Ages and remains resourceful for many families today.
Deer live in a variety of biomes, ranging from tundra to the tropical rainforest. While often associated with forests, many deer are ecotone species that live in transitional areas between forests and thickets (for cover) and prairie and savanna (open space). The majority of large deer species inhabit temperate mixed deciduous forest, mountain mixed coniferous forest, tropical seasonal/dry forest, and savanna habitats around the world. Clearing open areas within forests to some extent may actually benefit deer populations by exposing the understory and allowing the types of grasses, weeds, and herbs to grow that deer like to eat. Additionally, access to adjacent croplands may also benefit deer. However, adequate forest or brush cover must still be provided for populations to grow and thrive.
Pick the Best Trucking School Deer Park AL
Choosing the right truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to look into 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 enroll in an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Deer Park AL.
More Trucking Locations in Alabama