How to Choose the Right Trucker School near Cowarts Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Cowarts AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Cowarts home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss 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 Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Cowarts AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic 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). Below are short explanations of the 2 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Cowarts AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Cowarts AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, 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 quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will comply with 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 poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Cowarts AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, 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 individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Cowarts AL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. 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 Cowarts AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. 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 place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Cowarts AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Cowarts AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out 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 lower job placement rate or not many Cowarts AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Cowarts AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Cowarts AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Cowarts Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Cowarts is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. The town incorporated in August 1961. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 1,871, up from 1,546 in 2000.
Cowarts is located in north-central Houston County at 31°11′58″N 85°18′23″W / 31.19944°N 85.30639°W / 31.19944; -85.30639 (31.199575, -85.306272). It is bordered to the north and west by the city of Dothan and to the southeast by the town of Avon. A small part of the northern border of Cowarts is with the town of Webb.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,546 people, 603 households, and 469 families residing in the town. The population density was 213.6 people per square mile (82.4/km2). There were 684 housing units at an average density of 94.5 per square mile (36.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 84.93% White, 12.35% Black or African American, 0.65% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.39% from other races, and 1.29% from two or more races. 0.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
CDL Driver Training Cowarts AL
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Driver Training. However, you must get the necessary training in order to drive 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 lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Cowarts AL.
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