Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Semmes AL

How to Decide on a Trucking School near Semmes Alabama

Semmes AL truck driving school campusCongrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Semmes AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Semmes residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?

long haul tractor trailer in Semmes ALTo operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Semmes AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions for the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 required 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.

How to Evaluate a Trucking School

Questions to ask Semmes AL truck driving schoolsWhen you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Semmes AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are a few more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Semmes AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an 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 satisfy the very high standards 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 business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Semmes AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional 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 placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.

How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Semmes AL schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Semmes AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.

Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver 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 ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Semmes AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Semmes AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Semmes AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Semmes AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Semmes AL?

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

Semmes, Alabama

Semmes (pronounced /sɛmz/, locally /sɪmz/) is a city in western Mobile County, Alabama, in the Mobile metropolitan statistical area. Formerly an unincorporated community, voters in Semmes approved incorporation of a part of the community as the city of Semmes on August 17, 2010.[3] After a statutory enumeration, or census, the town was officially declared incorporated on May 2, 2011, by Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis.[4] The statutory census indicated that the town has a population of 2,897 people. It covers 2,100 acres (850 ha).[5] The current Mayor is David Baker. He is the 2nd Mayor of the city, succeeding Judy Hale.

Semmes is located at 30.778N, -88.259W. Elevation is 256 feet.[6] The Semmes area is bounded to the North by the Citronelle area, bounded to the East by the cities of Saraland and Prichard, bounded to the South by the city of Mobile, and finally bounded to the West by Big Creek Lake.

Semmes is on the central Gulf Coast and has a subtropical climate, which consists of warm, wet winters and very hot, very humid summers. Semmes is also vulnerable to hurricanes, which the area frequently experiences.

Pick the Right Truck Driving School Semmes AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Semmes ALChoosing the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Semmes AL.

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