How to Pick the Right CDL Driving School near Quinton Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Quinton AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Quinton residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Quinton AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and 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). Following are brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 CDL is required to operate 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. A few 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Quinton AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Quinton AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards 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 business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Quinton AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Quinton AL schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Quinton AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Quinton AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 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 reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Quinton AL school you choose provides 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 spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Quinton AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Quinton AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Quinton AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Quinton Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Quinton Aaron (born August 15, 1984) is an American actor. He made his film debut in Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind. His first lead role was as Michael Oher in the 2009 film The Blind Side. In 2010, Aaron guest-starred in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2015, Aaron shot the film Busy Day in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Aaron made his film debut as Q in Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind, starring Mos Def and Jack Black. He has also appeared in Fighting with Channing Tatum and Terrence Howard and co-starred in an NYU thesis short film called Mr. Brooklyn with Al Thompson (Liberty Kid, A Walk to Remember), directed by Jason Sokoloff.
His first lead role was playing Michael Oher, alongside Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw in The Blind Side, released November 20, 2009. Directed by John Lee Hancock, the film was adapted from Michael Lewis's 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, which features Oher's real-life story. Oher had started in ten games as a guard during his first season with the Ole Miss Rebels, becoming a first-team freshman All-American, and later an American football offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. Aaron auditioned for the role after his mother found out about the casting call online. Chosen as a finalist, he was flown in to Los Angeles for the final audition. Unsure whether he had been successful, he reached into his pocket on his way to the door and pulled out a card, telling director John Lee Hancock that he knew that it was a long shot for him to get the part, but that he did security work and would love to provide those services should they be needed for the film. Director Hancock said that he would keep it in mind.
How To Get CDL A Quinton AL
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many 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 How To Get CDL A. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Quinton AL.
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