How to Find a CDL Training School near Perdue Hill Alabama
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Perdue Hill AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Perdue Hill residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge 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? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the United States, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Perdue Hill AL, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Perdue Hill AL trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Perdue Hill AL truck driving schools are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent 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 caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively 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 best of Perdue Hill AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain 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 assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Perdue Hill AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier 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 requirements to qualify as a teacher, 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 regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit the Perdue Hill AL school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish ample 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary 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 can vary 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 Perdue Hill 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 Perdue Hill AL truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the Perdue Hill AL schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Perdue Hill AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For 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 are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession in Perdue Hill AL. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver 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 assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted in Perdue Hill AL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask truck driving applicants is "What compelled you to choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a trucking operator, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Right Truck Driver School Perdue Hill AL
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new occupation 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 many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to look into 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Perdue Hill AL.
A Bit About Perdue Hill Alabama
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