How to Find a CDL Training School near Excel Alabama
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Excel AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Excel residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the United States, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Excel AL, 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 brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 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. Some 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 might also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Excel AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, 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 factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Excel AL trucking schools are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Excel AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Excel AL schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s imperative 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 criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to visit the Excel AL school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish plenty 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 actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Excel AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some Excel AL truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, 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. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the Excel AL schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer 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 moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Excel 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 particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. 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 commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession in Excel AL. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed in Excel AL.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What made you pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a truck driver, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should prepare several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Select the Ideal CDL School Excel AL
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to look into 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 school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm 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 soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Excel AL.
A Bit About Excel Alabama
Excel is the birthplace of former University of Alabama and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Lee Roy Jordan. Excel High School (3A) provides education for children in and around the town of Excel. Businesses within the town include Dollar General, post office, a "do-it-yourself" car wash, a laundromat, hardware store, a locally-run diner and one bank.
As of the census of 2010, there were 723 people, 270 households, and 205 families residing in the town. The population density was 425.3 people per square mile (168.1/km2). There were 295 housing units at an average density of 173.5 per square mile (68.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.1% White, 5.0% Black or African American, 1.4% Native American, 0.1% some other race, and 2.4% from two or more races. 0.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 270 households out of which 41.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.6% were headed by married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.1% were non-families. 21.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.4% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68, and the average family size was 3.11.
In the town, the population was spread out with 28.5% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.5 males.
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