How to Pick the Right Trucking School near Red Bay Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Red Bay AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Red Bay home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Red Bay AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 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. Some 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 may also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Red Bay AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are some 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 ? Not many truck driving schools in the Red Bay AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated 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 an ample amount 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Red Bay AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention 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 teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Red Bay AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers 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 qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark 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 Red Bay AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work 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 best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Red Bay AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. 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 competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Red Bay AL school you choose provides 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 prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Red Bay AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Red Bay 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 reviewing have a financial assistance 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 Red Bay AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Red Bay Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Red Bay, Alabama
Red Bay is a city in Franklin County, Alabama, United States. It was founded in 1907. The population was 3,158 at the 2010 census, down from 3,374 at the 2000 census. The town's name likely comes from its location amid a large stand of redbay trees at the time of its founding.
What is now Red Bay was originally known as "Vinson's Crossroads," and was initially located further to the southwest along Gum Creek. A branch of the Illinois Central Railroad was constructed through the area in 1907, and Red Bay developed into an important lumber and shipping center. The city incorporated during this same period.
The first school in Red Bay was located where the First United Methodist Church stands today. In 1903, this school had one faculty member who was responsible for teaching, as well as most of the custodial duties. After crops were harvested, students attended school through the remainder of the fall and winter months until the spring planting season.
CDL Truck Training Red Bay AL
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Truck Training. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to consider 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 trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Red Bay AL.
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