How to Find a Trucking School near Deatsville Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Deatsville AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Deatsville home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll obtain the proper training. Just remember, your objective 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 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL 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 get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Deatsville AL, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate 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 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 greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate 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 drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Deatsville AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are some additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Deatsville AL truck driver schools are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered 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 quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks 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 usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Deatsville AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction 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 drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Deatsville AL schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the Deatsville AL school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark 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 Deatsville AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some Deatsville AL truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive 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 rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the Deatsville AL schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling 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 superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Deatsville AL school you select 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 willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession in Deatsville AL. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue 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 assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted in Deatsville AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What made you decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucker, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you must ready a number of ideas about how you want to address them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Best Truck Driving School Deatsville AL
Selecting the right truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Deatsville AL.
A Bit About Deatsville Alabama
Deatsville is a town in Elmore County, Alabama, United States. Although Deatsville initially incorporated in 1903, it lapsed at some point after the 1910 U.S. Census and did not appear again as incorporated until 2000. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,154, up from 340 in 2000. Holtville High School is located near Deatsville.
Deatsville is located in western Elmore County at 32°35′38″N 86°23′36″W / 32.59389°N 86.39333°W / 32.59389; -86.39333 (32.593958, -86.393454). It is bordered to the west by Autauga County and to the south by the city of Millbrook.
Alabama State Route 143 passes through the center of Deatsville, leading northwest 22 miles (35 km) to Clanton and southeast 8 miles (13 km) to Elmore. Montgomery, the state capital, is 23 miles (37 km) to the south.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Deatsville has a total area of 4.70 square miles (12.16 km2), of which 4.66 square miles (12.08 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2), or 0.67%, is water.
More Cities of Interest in Alabama