How to Find a Trucking School near Fayette Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Fayette AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Fayette residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations 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 discuss in the balance 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?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Fayette AL, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short summaries of 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 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 Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Fayette AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are some more things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Fayette AL area are accredited because of the rigorous 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize 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 actual 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Fayette AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Fayette AL schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional 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 little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide 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 operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies among 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. Check with the Fayette AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. 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 get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Fayette AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. 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 battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Fayette 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 certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out 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 poor job placement rate or not many Fayette AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Fayette AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Fayette AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Fayette Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Originally known as "La Fayette", it incorporated on January 15, 1821. When Fayette County was created in 1824, the town's name was officially changed to "Fayette Court House", though it was also known as "Fayetteville", which was the name shown on maps and on the U.S. Census in 1880 and 1890. It was officially shortened to "Fayette" in 1898.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,922 people, 2,092 households, and 1,303 families residing in the city. The population density was 575.1 people per square mile (222.0/km²). There were 2,336 housing units at an average density of 273.0 per square mile (105.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.34% White, 23.38% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.30% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. One percent of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,092 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.85.
Select the Right Truck Driving School Fayette AL
Picking the right truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider 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 select an independent CDL 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 an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Fayette AL.
More Trucking Locations in Alabama