How to Pick a Truck Driving School near Ryland Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Ryland AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Ryland residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal method to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on 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 Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Ryland AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 short summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 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, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Ryland AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few more points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Ryland AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Ryland AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers 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 higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding 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 relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Ryland AL schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will furnish ample 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 driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark 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 Ryland AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Ryland AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Ryland AL school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote 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 commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Ryland AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Ryland AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Ryland AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Ryland Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Three Dog Night
Three Dog Night is an American rock band. They formed in 1967 with a line-up consisting of vocalists Danny Hutton, Cory Wells, and Chuck Negron. This lineup was soon augmented by Jimmy Greenspoon (keyboards), Joe Schermie (bass), Michael Allsup (guitar), and Floyd Sneed (drums). The band registered 21 Billboard Top 40 hits (with three hitting number one) between 1969 and 1975. Because Three Dog Night recorded many songs written by outside songwriters, they helped introduce mainstream audiences to writers such as Paul Williams ("An Old Fashioned Love Song") and Hoyt Axton ("Joy to the World").
The official commentary included in the CD set Celebrate: The Three Dog Night Story, 1964–1975 states that vocalist Danny Hutton's girlfriend, actress June Fairchild (best known as the "Ajax Lady" from the Cheech and Chong movie Up In Smoke) suggested the name after reading a magazine article about indigenous Australians, in which it was explained that on cold nights they would customarily sleep in a hole in the ground while embracing a dingo, a native species of feral dog. On colder nights they would sleep with two dogs and, if the night were freezing, it was a "three dog night".
Composer Van Dyke Parks disputed this, writing on Twitter that Hutton "started a group called 'Tricycle', which I re-dubbed ‘Three Dog Night.’” On the claim that Fairchild suggested the name change, Parks tweeted, "[She was quite] a dancer. Yet, she didn’t read Mankind magazine, nor have an inkling of anthropology and the cold aboriginal nights that inspired my suggestion."
Choose the Ideal Trucking School Ryland AL
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need 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 choose an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Ryland AL.
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