Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Shannon AL

How to Select a CDL Driving School near Shannon Alabama

Shannon AL truck driving school campusCongrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Shannon AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Shannon home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams 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 balance 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?

long haul tractor trailer in Shannon ALIn order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Shannon AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses 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 driver school, we will address Class A and Class 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 brief explanations for the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 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 needed 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 require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.

How to Evaluate a CDL School

Questions to ask Shannon AL truck driving schoolsWhen you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Shannon AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Shannon AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Shannon AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance 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 compliance.

How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Shannon AL schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Shannon AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of 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 giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Shannon AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Shannon AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit 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 responsibilities.

Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Shannon AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Shannon AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Shannon AL?

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

Shannon Shorter

Shannon Jerod Shorter (born August 1, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for Al Riyadi of the Lebanese Basketball League. The 193cm Texan joined the 36ers in 2017 following a seven-season professional career which took him to China, Argentina, Japan, Israel, Mexico, Turkey and France.[1]

Shorter played four years of college basketball between 2007 and 2011. After spending his freshman season with Texas A&M–Corpus Christi, Shorter joined Paris Junior College for his sophomore year. He returned to a Division 1 school in 2009, joining North Texas. In 66 games for North Texas over two seasons, he averaged 6.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.[2]

On September 23, 2016, Shorter signed with TED Ankara Kolejliler of the Turkish Basketball Super League.[4] In March 2017, he left Ankara and joined French team Le Mans Sarthe Basket for the rest of the season.[5]

Choose the Best Truck Driver School Shannon AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Shannon ALChoosing the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many 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 Shannon AL.

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