How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Irvington Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Irvington AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Irvington residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Irvington AL, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 required to drive 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. 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 may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Irvington AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Irvington AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent 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 know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Irvington AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss 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 higher, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Irvington AL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Irvington AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Irvington AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Irvington AL school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular 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 fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Irvington AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Irvington AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Irvington AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Irvington Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Irvington, New York
Irvington, sometimes known as Irvington-on-Hudson, is an affluent suburban village in the town of Greenburgh in Westchester County, New York, United States. It is located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, 20 miles (32 km) north of midtown Manhattan in New York City, and is served by a station stop on the Metro-North Hudson Line. To the north of Irvington is the village of Tarrytown, to the south the village of Dobbs Ferry, and to the east unincorporated parts of Greenburgh, including East Irvington. Irvington includes within its boundaries the community of Ardsley-on-Hudson, which has its own ZIP code and Metro-North station, but which should not be confused with the nearby village of Ardsley, New York.
The population of Irvington at the 2010 census was 6,420. Because many of Irvington's residents – especially those in the upper income brackets – live in Irvington and work in New York City, the village has a reputation as a "commuter town" or a "bedroom community".
The village's half-mile long (0.8 kilometers) Main Street area has been designated an historic district by New York State and on January 15, 2014 was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2010, Westchester Magazine ranked Irvington as the "Best Place to Live in Westchester".
Pick the Ideal Trucking School Irvington AL
Choosing the ideal trucking school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Irvington AL.
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