How to Pick the Right Trucker School near Tallassee Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Tallassee AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper 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 think about prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Tallassee home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Tallassee AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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. 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 might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Tallassee AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Tallassee 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 obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Tallassee AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Tallassee AL schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to 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? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Tallassee AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly 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 receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Tallassee AL schools you are contemplating 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 driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Tallassee AL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing 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? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Tallassee AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Tallassee 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 assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Tallassee AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Tallassee Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Tallassee (pronounced /ˈtæːləsi/) is a city on the Tallapoosa River, located in both Elmore and Tallapoosa counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. At the 2010 census the population was 4,819. It is home to a major hydroelectric power plant at Thurlow Dam operated by Alabama Power Company.
The historic Creek peoples in this area are believed to have descended from the Mississippian culture, which flourished throughout the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys and the Southeast from about 1000 to 1450. They were mound builders, who created massive earthwork mounds as structures for political and religious purposes. They relied greatly on fishing and riverway trading at their major sites (c.f. Moundville, Tuscaloosa).
Talisi was a town of the Coosa Province of the Mississippian culture; it was visited in 1540 by Hernando de Soto and his expedition through the Southeast. Later it was occupied by the historic Creek people. The Tallassee area was the location of the Creek capital city, Tuckabatchee, as well as the location of the seven sacred plates.
Commercial Drivers License Schools Tallassee AL
Picking the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Commercial Drivers License Schools. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving 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 get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Tallassee AL.
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