How to Choose the Right Trucker School near Glenwood Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Glenwood AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Glenwood residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Glenwood AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class 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 short descriptions 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 greater 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 required 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. 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Glenwood AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are several more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Glenwood AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential 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 requires 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Glenwood AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Glenwood AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of 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 teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Glenwood AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Glenwood AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Glenwood AL school you select 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 prepared to dedicate 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 accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Glenwood AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Glenwood AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Glenwood AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Glenwood Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2000, there were 191 people, 92 households, and 58 families residing in the town. The population density was 262.8 people per square mile (101.0/km²). There were 118 housing units at an average density of 162.3 per square mile (62.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 69.11% White, 29.84% Black or African American, and 1.05% from two or more races. 0.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 92 households out of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.59.
In the town, the population was spread out with 18.3% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.3 males.
Get My CDL Glenwood AL
Picking the right truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Get My CDL. However, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Glenwood AL.
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