How to Pick the Right Truck Driver School near Ashville Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Ashville AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Ashville residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate training. 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 target in mind, just how do you select 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 CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Ashville AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 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 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 operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Ashville AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Ashville AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical 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 know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Ashville AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check 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 should 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 greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal 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 train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Ashville AL schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. 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 crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Ashville AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified 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 maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Ashville AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 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 reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Ashville AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Ashville AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Ashville 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 aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Ashville AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Ashville Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Ashville is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. Its population was 2,212 at the 2010 census, down from 2,260, at which time it was a town. Ashville is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Pell City. It incorporated in 1822.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Ashville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,260 people, 814 households, and 608 families residing in the town. The population density was 116.9 people per square mile (45.1/km2). There were 905 housing units at an average density of 46.8 per square mile (18.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.42% White, 26.55% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.31% Pacific Islander, 1.81% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 2.88% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Trucking Schools Ashville AL
Choosing the right truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Trucking Schools. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Ashville AL.
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