How to Pick the Right CDL Training School near Montrose Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Montrose AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Montrose home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Montrose AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on 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 short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 Commercial Drivers License is required 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. 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Montrose AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Montrose AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, 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 Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. 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 best of Montrose AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Montrose AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Montrose AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Montrose AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Montrose AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Montrose AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Montrose AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Montrose AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Montrose Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Montrose Christian School
Montrose Christian School is a private Christian school in Rockville, Maryland, operated by the Montrose Baptist Church, Maryland's second largest Southern Baptist church. It educates around 370 students. Its first Senior High School class graduated in 1986.
The history of Montrose Christian School is intimately connected with its parent organization, Montrose Baptist Church. While Montrose Baptist Church had established a nursery school in 1968 and a daycare in 1971, it recognized an opportunity to further its evangelical mission through the development of a full-time day school. On April 30, 1977, Montrose Christian School was officially incorporated in Rockville, Maryland. Starting with an inaugural kindergarten class of five children, it quickly expanded the next year to include Grades 1-4. During each subsequent year, another grade or two was added until eventually in May 1986, it graduated its first class of High School students.
The school has been recognized for its athletic accomplishments, particularly for those of its basketball team, which has been successful at recruiting players across the United States and around the world to play in Rockville.Kevin Durant's transfer to the school led USA Today to name Montrose its preseason pick for the top spot on its Super 25 rankings of the top high school basketball teams in 2005-06.
How To Get a Class A Drivers License Montrose AL
Selecting the right trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get a Class A Drivers License. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Montrose AL.
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