How to Pick a Truck Driving School near New Hope Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near New Hope AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your New Hope home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams 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 discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and New Hope AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class 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 summaries of the 2 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the New Hope AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the New Hope AL area are accredited because of the demanding 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively 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 New Hope AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most New Hope AL schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, 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 tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the New Hope AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular 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 rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the New Hope AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the New Hope AL school you select offers 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 instructor should be prepared to dedicate 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 obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many New Hope AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other New Hope AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near New Hope AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the New Hope Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
New Hope, Alabama
Originally named Cloud's Town in 1829 by its founder, William Cloud, it was incorporated in 1832 under the name of Vienna. Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Reed of the 12th Indiana Cavalry seized the town on May 29, 1864, during the American Civil War. Vienna was burned by the Union Army on December 15, 1864 because of the constant skirmishes with the guerrilla fighters in the area. All that remained were the post office and Masonic Lodge. Since there was already a post office called Vienna in southern Alabama and rules were that there could not be two post offices with the same name at that time, the rebuilt city was incorporated in 1883 as New Hope, taking its name from the New Hope Methodist Church. The settlement known as Cloud's Town was actually settled in what is now known as Cloud's Cove just off Hobbs Island Road and is a few miles from the town of New Hope.
Note that New Hope did not appear on the 1890 and 1940-1950 U.S. Censuses. In the case of the latter two years, it is likely their incorporation charter lapsed and was not renewed until prior to its reappearance on the 1960 U.S. Census.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,539 people, 1,033 households, and 729 families residing in the city. The population density was 287.6 people per square mile (111.0/km²). There were 1,124 housing units at an average density of 127.3 per square mile (49.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.80% White, 0.39% Black or African American, 1.81% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.67% from other races, and 2.09% from two or more races. 0.95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Pick the Best Truck Driver School New Hope AL
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may 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 select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in New Hope AL.
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