How to Enroll in the Right Truck Driving School near Rainsville Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Rainsville AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent 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 reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Rainsville home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Rainsville AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person 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 discuss 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). Following are short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 CDL is needed 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Rainsville AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Rainsville AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Rainsville AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Rainsville AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Rainsville AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Rainsville AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide 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, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Rainsville AL school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Rainsville AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Rainsville AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Rainsville AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Rainsville Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Rainsville is a city in DeKalb County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 4,948, up from 4,499 in 2000. Rainsville is located on top of Sand Mountain, a southern extension of the Cumberland Plateau.
An EF5 tornado struck the city on April 27, 2011, leaving 25 fatalities. It initially touched down 10 miles (16 km) to the southwest in Lakeview, causing structural damage to small buildings and snapping trees. It grew in intensity, and the path width increased from around fifty yards to a half a mile, as the rotation entered the Rainsville and Sylvania communities. Damage included houses that were completely removed from foundations and debris scattered for about one mile, trees debarked, and a few mobile homes were destroyed with debris strewn for about a mile downstream. In Sylvania, some of these houses removed from foundations contained anchor bolts and foundation straps.
Rainsville is located northwest of the center of DeKalb County at 34°29′32″N 85°50′43″W / 34.49222°N 85.84528°W / 34.49222; -85.84528 (34.492258, -85.845316). It is bordered to the northeast by Sylvania, to the northwest by Powell, to the southwest by Shiloh, and to the southeast by Pine Ridge.
Training For CDL Rainsville AL
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available 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 Training For CDL. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to think about 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 select an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Rainsville AL.
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