Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Gurley AL

How to Select a CDL Driving School near Gurley Alabama

Gurley AL truck driving school campusCongratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Gurley AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Gurley residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge 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? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?

long haul tractor trailer in Gurley ALTo operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Gurley AL, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class 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 descriptions of the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.

How to Assess a Truck Driver School

Questions to ask Gurley AL truck driving schoolsAfter you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Gurley AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few more points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Gurley AL area are accredited due to the demanding 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 required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Gurley AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual instruction 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Gurley AL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing 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? Above all else, a great trucking school will provide 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies between 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 Gurley AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Gurley AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Gurley AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Gurley AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Gurley AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. 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 completed.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Gurley AL?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Gurley Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Gurley, Alabama

The community takes its name from the Gurley family, who settled in the area in 1817. The town gradually formed around a water and coaling stop of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad and was originally known as Gurley's Tank. In 1866, the post office opened, and the name was changed to Gurleysville; it was later shortened back to Gurley. Gurley was incorporated in 1891 with 250 residents. Soon after, the population peaked at 1,000. The business district was nearly destroyed by fire in 1923, when a bucket brigade was able to save only two businesses. Most of the town is now included in the Gurley Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.[4]

Note: From the 1940 Census until 1970, Gurley ceased to appear on the census rolls. This was likely due to either disincorporation or loss/lapse of its charter in the 1930s. At some point in the 1960s, it was reincorporated.

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 876 people, 346 households, and 241 families residing in the town. The population density was 313.9 people per square mile (121.2/km²). There were 379 housing units at an average density of 135.8 per square mile (52.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 81.85% White, 15.41% Black or African American, 0.46% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.57% from other races, and 1.37% from two or more races. 2.05% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Select the Right Trucking School Gurley AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Gurley ALPicking the right trucking school is an important first step to starting 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 several options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Gurley AL.

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