How to Find a Truck Driver School near Eight Mile Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Eight Mile AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Eight Mile home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover 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 CDL Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Eight Mile AL, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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 short summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Eight Mile AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Eight Mile AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Eight Mile AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good 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 instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning 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 period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Eight Mile AL schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish lots 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Eight Mile AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to 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. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Eight Mile AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Eight Mile AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Eight Mile AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Eight Mile AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. 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 completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Eight Mile AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Eight Mile Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Eight Mile, Alabama
Eight Mile is an unincorporated community in Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The community is named for its distance from the city of Mobile. Part of it was annexed in the mid-20th century by the city of Prichard, Alabama.
In 2008 lightning struck a mercaptan storage tank at a Mobile Gas Service Corp. underground natural gas pipeline at the Whistler Junction gas transfer facility within the Eight Mile community. An estimated 500 US gallons (1,900 l; 420 imp gal) of Mercaptan, the chemical odorant added to natural gas to help detect leaks, spilled into the soil and groundwater for 6 months, according to Alabama state environmental officials. It has migrated to ponds and surfaced, polluting the community's air.
Beginning in 2011, residents in Eight Mile began complaining of an overwhelming mercaptan odor and associated health problems. They have concerns about the damage to their health from the chemical, and to property values from its persistent rotten egg smell. They appealed for a state and federal investigation.
Select the Right Trucking School Eight Mile AL
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new profession 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 several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Eight Mile AL.
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