How to Enroll in the Right CDL Training School near Abbeville Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Abbeville AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Abbeville home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Abbeville AL, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses 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 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 as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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. Several 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Abbeville AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Abbeville AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Abbeville AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Abbeville AL schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best 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 happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish ample 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Abbeville AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Abbeville AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted 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 contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Abbeville AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. 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, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Abbeville AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Abbeville AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid 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 Abbeville AL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Abbeville Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Abbeville is a city in Henry County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the population was 2,688. The city is the county seat of Henry County. It is the first city alphabetically, both by city and state, in the Rand McNally Road Atlas. It has two high schools: the public Abbeville High School and private Abbeville Christian Academy. Chapters of the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity operate here.
Abbeville is located at 31°33′59″N 85°15′5″W / 31.56639°N 85.25139°W / 31.56639; -85.25139Coordinates: 31°33′59″N 85°15′5″W / 31.56639°N 85.25139°W / 31.56639; -85.25139 (31.566367, -85.251300). The city is located in southeastern Alabama along U.S. Route 431, Alabama State Route 10, and Alabama State Route 27 approximately 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Dothan and 23 mi (37 km) south-southwest of Eufaula.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Abbeville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Truck Driving Schools Abbeville AL
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving Schools. However, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to consider 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 choose an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Abbeville AL.
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