Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Sylvania AL

How to Choose a Trucking School near Sylvania Alabama

Sylvania AL truck driving school campusCongratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Sylvania AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road 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 job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Sylvania home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss 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 Sylvania ALTo drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Sylvania AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss 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 of the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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. Some 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.

How to Research a CDL School

Questions to ask Sylvania AL truck driving schoolsOnce you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Sylvania AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Sylvania AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Sylvania AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.

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 proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual attention 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 comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Sylvania AL schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, 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 actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Sylvania AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.

Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Sylvania AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Sylvania AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Sylvania AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Sylvania AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Sylvania AL?

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

Sylvania, Alabama

Sylvania is a town in DeKalb County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in October 1967.[3] At the 2010 census the population was 1,837,[4] up from 1,186 in 2000. Sylvania is located atop Sand Mountain.

Sylvania is located north of the center of DeKalb County at 34°33′30″N 85°47′46″W / 34.55833°N 85.79611°W / 34.55833; -85.79611 (34.558304, -85.796154).[5]Alabama State Route 75 passes through the town limits, leading northeast to Henagar and southwest to Rainsville.

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 1,186 people, 485 households, and 354 families residing in the town. The population density was 161.9 people per square mile (62.5/km²). There were 517 housing units at an average density of 70.6 per square mile (27.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.37% White, 0.08% Black or African American, 1.18% Native American, 0.08% Asian, 0.51% from other races, and 1.77% from two or more races. 0.67% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Select the Best Truck Driving School Sylvania AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Sylvania ALChoosing the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, 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 a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Sylvania AL.

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