How to Decide on a CDL Driving School near Grove Hill Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Grove Hill AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to think about before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Grove Hill home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally in Alabama and within the USA, a driver must obtain 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. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Grove Hill AL, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following 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 more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Grove Hill AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Grove Hill AL truck driver schools are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Grove Hill AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists 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 professionally takes time. Most Grove Hill AL schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the Grove Hill AL school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few 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, an excellent truck driving school will furnish ample 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. 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 she or he will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Grove Hill AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of Grove Hill AL truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the Grove Hill AL schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Grove Hill AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession in Grove Hill AL. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted in Grove Hill AL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Truck Driver?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask truck driving prospects is "What drove you to decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a truck driver, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare several ideas about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Select the Right Truck Driving School Grove Hill AL
Picking the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available 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 drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on 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 school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Grove Hill AL.
A Bit About Grove Hill Alabama
Grove Hill, Alabama
Grove Hill is a town in Clarke County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 1,570. It is the county seat of Clarke County and home of the Clarke County Museum.
The area that is now Grove Hill was originally inhabited by Creek and Choctaw Indians. The county seat of Clarke County was established at what later became Grove Hill in 1832 as the spot was most central to the rest of the county. Known variously as Smithville, then Macon, the name Grove Hill was selected around 1850 for the large grove of oak trees on the plateau. The town was officially incorporated and chartered in 1929. In 1853, a yellow fever epidemic struck the town, killing many residents, almost wiping out the town.
The Grove Hill area has numerous sites on the National Register of Historic Places including the Alston-Cobb House, Bush House, John A. Coate House, Cobb House, Dickinson House, Fort Sinquefield, and the Grove Hill Courthouse Square Historic District.
Grove Hill is located at 31°42'22.093" North, 87°46'27.386" West (31.706137, -87.774274).
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