Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Paragon AL

How to Pick a Trucking School near Paragon Alabama

Paragon AL truck driving school campusCongratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Paragon AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Paragon home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge 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 decide on 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 eventually need.

Which CDL Will You Need?

long haul tractor trailer in Paragon ALIn order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Paragon AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below 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 more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 needed 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.

How to Assess a CDL School

Questions to ask Paragon AL truck driving schoolsAs soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Paragon AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are several additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Paragon AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense 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. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Paragon 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 pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt 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? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Paragon AL schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Paragon 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 certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Paragon 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 a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. 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 contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Paragon AL school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular 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 going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates 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 few Paragon AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Paragon AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Paragon AL?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Paragon Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Paragon Banking Group

The company was established in 1985 as the National Home Loans Corporation.[2] It launched Homeloans Direct in 1995.[3] In 1997 it changed its name to the Paragon Group of Companies.[4] In 2003 it acquired Britannic Money.[5]

Pick the Right CDL School Paragon AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Paragon ALPicking the right trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker 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 regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Paragon AL.

More Trucking Locations in Alabama

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