How to Pick the Right Trucking School near Paint Rock Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Paint Rock AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Paint Rock home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal means to guarantee you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Paint Rock AL, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 select a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with 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 CDL 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. Several 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 more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Paint Rock AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are a few additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Paint Rock AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving 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. However, even the top Paint Rock AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to make sure 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 hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention 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 period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Paint Rock AL schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers 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 possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Paint Rock AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount 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 refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Paint Rock AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Paint Rock AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Paint Rock AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Paint Rock AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid 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 need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Paint Rock AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Paint Rock Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Paint Rock, Alabama
As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 210, up from 185 in 2000. This was the first time in 100 years it increased in population. Out of 13 incorporated communities in Jackson County, it is the least populated. Its peak population was in 1910 when it had 534 people and was the 4th largest town in the county.
Paint Rock was settled in the 1820s, and was initially known as "Camden." A post office was established in 1836, and a railroad depot was constructed in 1856. The name was changed from Camden to "Paint Rock" in 1876.
Paint Rock is located at 34°39′37″N 86°19′41″W / 34.66028°N 86.32806°W / 34.66028; -86.32806 (34.660172, -86.328018). The town is situated along the Paint Rock River in a relatively narrow valley between Keel Mountain to the west and the Cumberland Plateau to the east. Gurley lies to the northwest, Woodville lies to the southeast, and Owens Cross Roads lies across Keel Mountain to the southwest. The Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge is located along the base of the Cumberland Plateau just east of Paint Rock. U.S. Route 72 passes through Paint Rock, connecting the town with Scottsboro to the east and Huntsville to the west.
CDL Driving Course Paint Rock AL
Choosing the right truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Driving Course. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds 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 enroll in an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Paint Rock AL.
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