How to Find the Right CDL Training School near Linden Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Linden AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive 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 think about before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Linden residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Linden AL, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes 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 address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind 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 summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Linden AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Linden AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking 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. Having said that, even the top Linden AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Linden AL schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide ample 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Linden AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Linden AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Linden 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 teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Confirm 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, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Linden AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Linden AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Linden AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Linden Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Settled prior to 1818, the community was first known as Screamersville, since the cry of wild animals could still be heard during the night. It became the county seat in 1819 and was then known as the Town of Marengo. This was changed to Hohenlinden in 1823, to honor the county's earliest European settlers, French Bonapartist refugees to the Vine and Olive Colony. The name commemorated the battle in 1800 at Hohenlinden, Bavaria, where the French defeated the armis of both Austria and Bavaria. The spelling was later shorten to just to Linden.
Linden is located at 32°18′4″N 87°47′34″W / 32.30111°N 87.79278°W / 32.30111; -87.79278 (32.301154, −87.792650). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2), of which 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.83%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,424 people, 938 households, and 662 families residing in the city. The population density was 675.6 people per square mile (260.7/km²). There were 1,084 housing units at an average density of 302.1 per square mile (116.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 52.43% White, 46.20% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.33% Asian, and 0.87% from two or more races. 1.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
How To Become A CDL Driver Linden AL
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Become A CDL Driver. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to think about 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 trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Linden AL.
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