How to Find the Right Trucker School near Fayette Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Fayette AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Fayette home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal means to guarantee you’ll receive the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address 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 CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Fayette AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 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 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 short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Fayette AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are several more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Fayette AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, 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 assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Fayette AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Fayette AL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful 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 might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide plenty of 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 operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Fayette AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Fayette AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Fayette AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Fayette AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Fayette AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Fayette AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Fayette Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Originally known as "La Fayette", it incorporated on January 15, 1821. When Fayette County was created in 1824, the town's name was officially changed to "Fayette Court House", though it was also known as "Fayetteville", which was the name shown on maps and on the U.S. Census in 1880 and 1890. It was officially shortened to "Fayette" in 1898.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,922 people, 2,092 households, and 1,303 families residing in the city. The population density was 575.1 people per square mile (222.0/km²). There were 2,336 housing units at an average density of 273.0 per square mile (105.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.34% White, 23.38% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.30% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. One percent of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,092 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.85.
Truck Driving Classes Fayette AL
Selecting the right trucking school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving Classes. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to look into 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 truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Fayette AL.
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