How to Select the Right CDL Driving School near Hodges Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Hodges AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Hodges home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Hodges AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on 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 brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 drive specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Hodges AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Hodges AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Hodges AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Hodges AL schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Hodges AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified 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 maintaining associations 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Hodges AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Hodges AL school you enroll in 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 teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Hodges AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Hodges AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid 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 Hodges AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Hodges Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Albert E. Hodge (April 18, 1912 – March 19, 1979) was an American actor best known for playing space adventurer Captain Video on the DuMont Television Network from December 15, 1950, to April 1, 1955. He played the Green Hornet on radio from January 1936 until January 1943.
Hodge was born in Ravenna, Ohio. His parents operated a tailoring and dry-cleaning business. Hodge acted and took part in sports at Ravenna High School. Nicknamed "Abie", he was a track star, a drum major and manager of the band, sang bass in the boys glee club and was a cheerleader.
Hodge graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1934, majoring in drama. After touring as an actor with the Casford Players, he was hired by WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan. Besides originating the role of Britt Reid, the Green Hornet, Hodge wrote and delivered daily editorials, announced at football games, wrote advertising copy, worked as a disc jockey, and produced radio dramas and documentaries, including The Lone Ranger and Challenge of the Yukon. He served in the United States Navy during World War II, and was bedridden for a year with pleurisy.
Obtaining CDL License Hodges AL
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new vocation 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 several options offered 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 Obtaining CDL License. However, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving 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 many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Hodges AL.
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