How to Pick a Truck Driver School near Daleville Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Daleville AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Daleville home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick 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 CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the United States, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Daleville AL, we will discuss 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 short explanations for 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 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 CDL is needed to drive 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. 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 specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Daleville AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are some more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Daleville AL trucking schools are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Daleville AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Daleville AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the Daleville AL school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out 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 lots of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Daleville AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain Daleville AL trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the Daleville AL schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Daleville AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new profession in Daleville AL. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed in Daleville AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Right Truck Driver School Daleville AL
Picking the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered 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 operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Daleville AL.
A Bit About Daleville Alabama
Daleville is a city in Dale County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 5,295, up from 4,653 in 2000. It is part of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area. The city's nickname is "Gateway to Fort Rucker", as this U.S. Army post is located just north of town. Cairns Army Airfield is located to the south of Daleville on the road to nearby Clayhatchee.
Daleville, originally known as "Dale's Court House", was founded in 1827 by veterans of the Creek Indian War who had settled in Dale County following that conflict. It was established as the original county seat of Dale County in 1827 but lost that honor when Coffee County split from Dale in 1841, at which time the seat was moved first to Newton, and then later to Ozark in 1870, where it remains today.
Residents of the town formed portions of two regiments of the Confederate States Army during the U.S. Civil War: the 15th Alabama Infantry, famed for charging the 20th Maine on Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg, and the 33rd Alabama Infantry. In the latter regiment, Company "G", called the "Daleville Blues", was recruited entirely from Daleville. Several men from this company were killed in a freak train derailment on 4 November 1862 near Cleveland, Tennessee; the remainder would fight with the rest of the 33rd in the Confederate Army of Tennessee until the final surrender in 1865.
Long a tiny farming community, Daleville saw significant expansion during the mid-to-late twentieth century with the establishment and enlargement of Fort Rucker, the U.S. Army's primary aviation training post. Douglas Brown, a former mayor of Ozark, teamed up with two Georgia businessmen, L.C. Hall and Bob Culpepper, to develop the city. Securing a 1.5 million dollar loan, the trio purchased 400 acres (1.6 km2) of land in Daleville, constructed a lagoon sewer system and began to build the town house by house, shopping center by shopping center. Numerous military personnel then made their homes in the community, and many elected to stay after their retirement or otherwise completing their service obligation. This large military presence gives the town a more cosmopolitan populace than other area towns farther away from the base.
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