Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Steele AL

How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Steele Alabama

Steele AL truck driving school campusCongratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Steele AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Steele home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal 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 choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which CDL Should You Get?

long haul tractor trailer in Steele ALIn order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Steele AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions of the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 required to drive 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. 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.

How to Research a Trucking School

Questions to ask Steele AL truck driving schoolsOnce you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Steele AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Steele AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. 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 Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Steele 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 history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Steele AL schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish lots of 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Steele AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff 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 ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Steele AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Steele AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate 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 fit in working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Steele AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Steele AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Steele AL?

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

Shooting of Autumn Steele

Autumn Steele had just been released from jail after being arrested for assaulting her husband, Gabriel. On January 6, 2015, Officer Jesse Hill was dispatched to the Steele home in response to a domestic-disturbance call.

Police said when Hill arrived, Autumn was screaming at and attacking Gabriel (who was holding their young child).[1] Hill said the family dog bit him as he was trying to protect the husband and child. He said he tried shooting the dog twice, but he slipped. One of his bullets hit Autumn Steele in her torso; she later died of her injuries.[2] A neighbor told a local newspaper the officer was trying to break up the Steele's argument and was startled by the couple's dog.

During the course of the investigation, the Steeles' German Shepherd was confiscated by the police department under a search warrant and was placed in the city's dog pound for observation. The dog was later deemed "not vicious" and returned. Officer Hill was treated for at least one dog bite.[2]

Pick the Best Trucking School Steele AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Steele ALSelecting the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want 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 enroll in an independent truck driving 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 obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Steele AL.

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