How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Siluria Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Siluria AL. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Siluria home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn 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 decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Siluria AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with 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 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. Several 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 CDL 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. Several of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate 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 operate specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Siluria AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example 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 carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Siluria AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of 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 mandates 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 satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Siluria AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
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 following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Siluria AL schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly 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 satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Siluria AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Siluria AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Siluria AL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance 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 companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Siluria AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Siluria AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Siluria AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Siluria Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Siluria is a former town and now a neighborhood in Alabaster, Alabama, located in Shelby County, Alabama in the Birmingham, Alabama, metropolitan area. It was the home of a large cotton mill and company-built mill village which began operations in 1896 and finally closed in 1979. It was incorporated on 25 May 1954, but was later annexed by Alabaster in May 1971. It's named for the Silurian geological period because of rocks found there. A post office was established in 1872, and remained in operation until it was discontinued in 1972.
Select the Ideal CDL School Siluria AL
Choosing the right truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of 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 large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Siluria AL.
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