How to Find the Right Trucker School near Ashford Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Ashford AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Ashford residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Ashford AL, a driver 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, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License 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 require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Ashford 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 should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Ashford AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense 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. Prospective students recognize 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 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 satisfy the very high standards 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 poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Ashford AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Ashford AL schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish plenty 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential 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 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 a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Ashford AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement 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 offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships 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 flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Ashford AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Ashford AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed 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 acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Ashford AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Ashford AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Ashford AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Ashford Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Ashford is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town was incorporated in June 1891. For most of its history, it was a center for naval stores production, pulpwood harvesting, and cotton agriculture. The population was 2,148 at the 2010 census, up from 1,853 at the 2000 census.
Ashford is located slightly northeast of the center of Houston County at 31°11′3″N 85°14′7″W / 31.18417°N 85.23528°W / 31.18417; -85.23528 (31.184032, -85.235286).U.S. Route 84 passes through the southern part of the town, leading west 9 miles (14 km) to Dothan and southeast 24 miles (39 km) to Donalsonville, Georgia. The Chattahoochee River, which forms the Georgia state line, is 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Ashford on US 84.
Ashford's former mayor is Jonathon Grecu, he resigned from office on December 31, 2017. On January 8, 2018 Carole Barfield took office. As of October 2018, the current mayor is Carole Barfield, and City Council members are Gary Gibson, Ronnie Whitehead, Alan Anderson, James Smith, and Denise Herndon. The recreation director for the City of Ashford is Louis Edmondson. The City Clerk is currently open for employment.
CDL Classes Ashford AL
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to beginning 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 offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Classes. However, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the option of driving 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 an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Ashford AL.
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