How to Pick a CDL Training School near Notasulga Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Notasulga AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to think about before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Notasulga home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Notasulga AL, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 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. 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 require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Notasulga AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Notasulga AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue 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 stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Notasulga AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Notasulga AL schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few 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? Above all else, an excellent truck driver 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Notasulga AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Notasulga AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Notasulga AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating 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 firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Notasulga AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Notasulga AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance 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 Notasulga AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Notasulga Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Notasulga is a town in Lee and Macon counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 965, up from 916 in 2000. The portion in Lee County is part of the Auburn Metropolitan Area. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, it incorporated in 1893. Author Zora Neale Hurston was born in Notasulga in 1891.
As of the census of 2000, there were 916 people, 393 households, and 260 families residing in the town. The population density was 65.9 people per square mile (25.4/km²). There were 446 housing units at an average density of 32.1 per square mile (12.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 66.27% White, 32.42% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.55% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. 0.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 393 households out of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.6% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.87.
Choose the Ideal Trucking School Notasulga AL
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered 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 manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Notasulga AL.
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