How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Mcintosh Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Mcintosh AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Mcintosh home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest 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 Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Mcintosh AL, an operator needs to get 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 select a truck driving school, we will focus on 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). Following are short summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Mcintosh AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are a few more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Mcintosh AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, 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 driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Mcintosh AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask 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, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal instruction 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Mcintosh AL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. 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, a great truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Mcintosh AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Mcintosh AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit 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 Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Mcintosh AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Mcintosh AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Mcintosh 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 aid 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 Mcintosh AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Mcintosh Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
McIntosh is a town located in Washington County, Alabama, United States along U.S. Route 43. It is 12 1⁄2 miles (20.1 km) south of Wagarville and 44 miles (71 km) north of Mobile. It was named for William McIntosh, a prominent Creek chief of the nineteenth century. The town was incorporated on April 7, 1970. The population as of the 2010 U.S. Census was 238, down from 244 in 2000.
The town and county have a high proportion of residents who are members of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians, a state-recognized tribe of people of the Muskogean-speaking language family. It has one site, Andrews Chapel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
McIntosh is near the site of Aaron Burr's arrest in 1807 while the area was part of the Mississippi Territory. He was captured by U.S. Army Lt. Edmund P. Gaines in the town of Wakefield, a few miles to the north, and then confined to Fort Stoddert. A historic marker has been placed to document this event.
Select the Ideal Truck Driver School Mcintosh AL
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Mcintosh AL.
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