How to Pick a Truck Driver School near Dolomite Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Dolomite AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Dolomite residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Dolomite AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 short descriptions of the 2 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 more 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 required 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Dolomite AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Dolomite AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace 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. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount 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 program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Dolomite AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized 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 insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Dolomite AL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor 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. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative 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 between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Dolomite AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Dolomite AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at 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 facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Dolomite AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Verify 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 local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Dolomite AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Dolomite 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Dolomite AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Dolomite Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Geography of Qatar
Qatar is a peninsula in the east of Arabia, bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, in a strategic location near major petroleum deposits. Qatar occupies 11,437 km2 (4,416 sq mi) on a peninsula that extends approximately to 160 km (99 mi) north into the Persian Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula.
Varying in width between 55 and 90 km (34 and 56 mi), the land is mainly flat (the highest point is 103 m (338 ft)) and rocky. Notable features include coastal salt pans, elevated limestone formations (the Dukhan anticline) along the west coast under which lies the Dukhan oil field, and massive sand dunes surrounding Khawr al Udayd, an inlet of the Persian Gulf in the southeast known to local English speakers as the Inland Sea.
The peninsula of Qatar is low-lying. Its shape the surface expression of the Qatar Arch, one of the largest structural characteristics of the Arabian Plate. It is enveloped by loose sand and pebbles broken off the outcropping limestone. Smooth plains are found in the east, where the surface is covered by fine-grained dust. The south and south-west portion of the peninsula mainly comprises sand dunes and salt flats.
Pick the Right Trucking School Dolomite AL
Selecting the right truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance 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 offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Dolomite AL.
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