How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Margaret Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Margaret AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Margaret residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Margaret AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes 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 driving 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 summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 operators may be qualified to drive 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 specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Margaret AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Margaret AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 fulfill 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 operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Margaret AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Margaret AL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although 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 teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through 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 truck driving 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. Even though 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 receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Margaret AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff 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 restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Margaret AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Margaret AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Margaret AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Margaret 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 examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Margaret AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Margaret Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell (November 8, 1900 – August 16, 1949) was an American novelist and journalist who wrote under the pseudonym Peggy Mitchell. One novel by Mitchell was published during her lifetime, the American Civil War-era novel, Gone with the Wind, for which she won the National Book Award for Most Distinguished Novel of 1936 and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937. In more recent years, a collection of Mitchell's girlhood writings and a novella she wrote as a teenager, Lost Laysen, have been published. A collection of articles written by Mitchell for The Atlanta Journal was republished in book form.
Margaret Mitchell was a Southerner and a lifelong resident and native of Atlanta, Georgia. She was born in 1900 into a wealthy and politically prominent family. Her father, Eugene Muse Mitchell, was an attorney, and her mother, Mary Isabel "May Belle" (or "Maybelle") Stephens, also an attorney, was a suffragist. She had two brothers, Russell Stephens Mitchell, who died in infancy in 1894, and Alexander Stephens Mitchell, born in 1896.
Mitchell's family on her father's side were descendants of Thomas Mitchell, originally of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, who settled in Wilkes County, Georgia in 1777, and served in the American Revolutionary War. Her grandfather, Russell Crawford Mitchell, of Atlanta, enlisted in the Confederate States Army on June 24, 1861, and served in Hood's Texas Brigade. He was severely wounded at the Battle of Sharpsburg, demoted for "inefficiency," and detailed as a nurse in Atlanta. After the Civil War, he made a large fortune supplying lumber for the rapid rebuilding of Atlanta. Russell Mitchell had thirteen children from two wives; the eldest was Eugene, who graduated from the University of Georgia Law School.
Pick the Ideal Trucking School Margaret AL
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Margaret AL.
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