How to Pick a Trucking School near Newton Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Newton AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Newton home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Newton AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and 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 explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Newton AL trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must 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 below are some additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Newton AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Newton AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. 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 provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction 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 professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Newton AL schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors 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 an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating 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 instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Newton AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Newton AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Newton AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Newton AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Newton AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. 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 submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Newton AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Newton Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Sir Isaac Newton PRS FRS (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician, astronomer, theologian, author and physicist (described in his own day as a "natural philosopher") who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica ("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy"), first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus.
In Principia, Newton formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation that formed the dominant scientific viewpoint until being superseded by the theory of relativity. Newton used his mathematical description of gravity to prove Kepler's laws of planetary motion, account for the trajectories of comets, tides, the precession of the equinoxes, and other phenomena, eradicating doubt about the Solar System's heliocentricity. He demonstrated that the motion of objects on Earth and celestial bodies could be accounted for by the same principles. Newton's prediction that the Earth is an oblate spheroid was later vindicated by the geodetic measurements of Maupertuis, La Condamine, and others, convincing most European scientists of the superiority of Newtonian mechanics over earlier systems.
Newton also built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a sophisticated theory of colour based on the observation that a prism separates white light into the colours of the visible spectrum. His work on light was collected in his highly influential book Opticks, published in 1704. He also formulated an empirical law of cooling, made the first theoretical calculation of the speed of sound, and introduced the notion of a Newtonian fluid. In addition to his work on calculus, as a mathematician Newton contributed to the study of power series, generalised the binomial theorem to non-integer exponents, developed a method for approximating the roots of a function, and classified most of the cubic plane curves.
Pick the Best CDL School Newton AL
Picking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Newton AL.
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