How to Enroll in the Right CDL Driving School near Brewton Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Brewton AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Brewton home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance 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 Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Brewton AL, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Brewton AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are some more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Brewton AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense 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 several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Brewton AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes 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 skillfully requires time. Most Brewton AL schools offer 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 Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Brewton AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Brewton 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 driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Brewton AL school you choose provides 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 teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Brewton AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Brewton AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid 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 Brewton AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Brewton Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Brewton is a city in Escambia County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 5,408. The city is the county seat of Escambia County. Brewton is located in south central Alabama, just north of the Florida Panhandle.
In May 1861, the city of Brewton began as a train station under Edmund Troupe Bruton. The settlement was originally known as Newport when barges made runs to and from Pensacola, Florida on Murder Creek and Burnt Corn Creek before the installation of rail.
During the Civil War rail lines were severed, and small lumber mills were damaged or destroyed. However, after the war those who returned or arrived rebuilt the Brewton economy, began a school, and established small businesses. Into the 1870s a new European demand for lumber stimulated the founding of numerous timber and lumber operations. The Conecuh-Escambia river system became a timber artery to the Gulf.
CDL Truck Driving School Brewton AL
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning 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 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 Truck Driving School. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Brewton AL.
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