How to Select a CDL Driving School near Logan Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Logan AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Logan residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Logan AL, an operator must obtain 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. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 needed 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. 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 may also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Logan AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Logan AL area are accredited due to 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 required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Logan 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 track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker 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 cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning 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 time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Logan AL schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, 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 essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Logan AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, 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 have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Logan 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 permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Logan AL school you choose provides 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 prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Logan AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Logan AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Logan AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Logan Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Lara Logan (born 29 March 1971) is a South African television and radio journalist and war correspondent. She is the chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News and a correspondent for CBS's 60 Minutes.
Logan was born in Durban, South Africa, and attended high school at Durban Girls' College. She graduated from the University of Natal in Durban in 1992 with a degree in commerce. She went on to earn a diploma in French language, culture and history at Alliance Française in Paris.
Logan worked as a news reporter for the Sunday Tribune in Durban during her studies (1988–1989), then for the city's Daily News (1990–1992). In 1992 she joined Reuters Television in Africa, primarily as a senior producer. After four years she branched out into freelance journalism, obtaining assignments as a reporter and editor/producer with ITN and Fox/SKY, CBS News, ABC News (in London), NBC, and the European Broadcast Union. She also found work with CNN, reporting on incidents such as the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Nairobi and Tanzania, the conflict in Northern Ireland, and the Kosovo war.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School Logan AL
Choosing the right truck driving school is an important first step to launching your new occupation 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 a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to look into 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 truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Logan AL.
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