How to Select a CDL Training School near Docena Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Docena AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Docena home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Docena AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving 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). Below are brief descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Docena AL trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are several additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Docena AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent 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 know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Docena AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk 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 personalized attention 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 professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Docena AL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will furnish sufficient 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. 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 gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Docena AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Docena AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Docena AL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Docena AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Docena AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Docena AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Docena Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Docena is a community in the Warrior coal field in unincorporated western Jefferson County, enclosed within the corporate limits of Adamsville. The compact former mining village is accessed off of Minor Road between Oakwood Drive and the Adamsville Industrial Park. The area of the present village of Docena was first developed in 1905 by the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church as a campus for their planned college. The development was called Booker or Booker City for educator Booker T. Washington, and was being developed by the Booker City Land Development Company on behalf of the church. During that development, it came to the attention of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company (TCI) that the area provided good access to the Pratt Seam of coal, part of the Warrior Coal Fields. The company arranged to trade the Booker City land for a site in the Vinesville district of Interurban Heights, near which the TCI-built industrial city of Corey (later Fairfield) would later be laid out. The CME campus was built there, and is now known as Miles College.
TCI opened the Number 12 Pratt Mine into the Pratt seam near the former Booker City and built a stockade for the leased convicts it obtained from the state. Prisoners were brought to the site on the Kansas City, Memphis and Birmingham Railroad, and the same line was used to haul their mined coal to coke ovens for use at the company's Ensley Works. After the prisoners moved on to other mines, the stockade was dismantled and tents erected for incoming mine workers.
In 1912, under the direction of company president George Gordon Crawford, the practice of convict leasing was abandoned at TCI's mines. Planning began for a new "model mining village" in line with the company's new policy of welfare capitalism. The company hoped to attract better quality, more settled and dedicated workers by creating a company-owned village with modern sanitation, orderly houses, schools, churches, and recreation opportunities.
Choose the Ideal CDL School Docena AL
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several 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 funds or financing, you might want to look into 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 truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Docena AL.
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