How to Find a CDL Driving School near Mount Vernon Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Mount Vernon AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Mount Vernon home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That 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 commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Mount Vernon AL, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver 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 address Class A and 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). Following are short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 operate 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. Some 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 need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Mount Vernon AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Mount Vernon AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical 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. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks 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 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 top Mount Vernon AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists 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. The majority of Mount Vernon AL schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit 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 some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish 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 necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Mount Vernon AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit 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 limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Mount Vernon AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Mount Vernon AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Mount Vernon AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Mount Vernon AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Mount Vernon AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Mount Vernon Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Mount Vernon, New York
Mount Vernon is a city in Westchester County, New York, United States. It is an inner suburb of New York City, immediately to the north of the borough of the Bronx. As of the 2010 census, Mount Vernon had a population of 67,292.
Mount Vernon, the eighth-most populous city in the state of New York, has two major sections. Southside Mount Vernon is more urban, resembling the Bronx to the south, while Northside Mount Vernon is more residential. Mount Vernon's downtown business district is on the city's Southside, which features the City Hall, Mount Vernon's main post office, Mount Vernon Public Library, office buildings, and other municipal establishments.
In 1894, the voters of Mount Vernon (and nearby Yonkers) voted, along with the voters of Kings County (present day Brooklyn), Queens County, and Richmond County (present day Staten Island), in a referendum on whether or not they wanted to become part of a "Greater New York City". While the results were positive elsewhere, the returns were so negative in Mount Vernon and Yonkers that those two areas were not included in the consolidated city and remained independent.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School Mount Vernon AL
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to consider 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 enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Mount Vernon AL.
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