How to Pick the Best Truck Driving School near Duncanville Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Duncanville AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Duncanville home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills 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 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 Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Duncanville AL, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 required 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Duncanville AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Duncanville AL area are accredited due to the stringent 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 standard, and that they will be given plenty 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated 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 Duncanville AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Duncanville AL schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Duncanville AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Duncanville AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Duncanville AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Duncanville AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Duncanville AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
CDL Schools Duncanville Alabama
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Schools and wanting information on the topic How To Get Class A CDL. However, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL 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 choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Duncanville AL.
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