How to Find a Truck Driver School near Gordo Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Gordo AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Gordo home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll receive the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the USA, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Gordo AL, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive 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 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 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 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 operate specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Gordo AL trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are some additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Gordo AL truck driving schools are accredited because of the rigorous 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 obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Gordo AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly 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 time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Gordo AL schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the Gordo AL school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will provide plenty 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Gordo AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain Gordo AL trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the Gordo AL schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Gordo AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career in Gordo AL. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed in Gordo AL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask truck driving prospects is "What compelled you to decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Right Truck Driving School Gordo AL
Picking the right truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape 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 get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might 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 select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Gordo AL.
A Bit About Gordo Alabama
Gordo is a town in Pickens County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 1,750, up from 1,677 in 2000. It was the second largest town in Pickens County as of 2010, taking the title from Reform, which it previously held in 1960 and 1970. The town incorporated in 1900.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 1,750 people residing in the town. 58.9% were White, 37.8% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.9% from some other race and 2.0% of two or more races. 1.5% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,677 people, 728 households, and 474 families residing in the town. The population density was 527.1 people per square mile (203.6/km²). There were 810 housing units at an average density of 254.6 per square mile (98.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 58.91% White, 40.31% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.30% from other races, and 0.30% from two or more races. 1.25% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 728 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.3% were married couples living together, 17.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.92.
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