Trucking Schools Dutton AL

How to Choose the Best CDL Driving Classes near Dutton Alabama

tractor truck in Dutton AL Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Dutton AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Dutton residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?

Dutton AL long haul tractor trailerIn order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Dutton AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select 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 in addition to 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 required 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 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.

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How to Evaluate a CDL School

Dutton AL truck driving schoolWhen you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Dutton AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are several more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Dutton AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Dutton AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.

How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Dutton AL schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Dutton AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment 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 rather than maintaining relationships with a wide range of 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 be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Dutton AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Dutton AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. 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 grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Dutton AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Dutton AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.

Trucking Schools Dutton Alabama

Dutton AL long haul truckSelecting the right truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in Trucking Schools and wanting information on the topic CDL Training Programs.  However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may 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 trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Dutton AL.

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    Charles S. Dutton

    Charles Stanley Dutton (born January 30, 1951) is an American stage, film, and television actor and director, best known for his roles as "Fortune" in the film Rudy, "Dillon" in Alien 3, and the title role in the television sitcom Roc which originally ran on the Fox network from 1991 until 1994.

    Dutton was born January 30, 1951, on the East side of Baltimore, Maryland. His father was a truck driver. In his youth, Dutton dropped out of school before finishing middle school. He had a short-lived stint as an amateur boxer with the nickname "Roc." When he was 17, he got into a fight which resulted in the death of a man Dutton claimed had attacked him. Dutton was convicted of manslaughter, and spent seven years in prison.

    Several months into his second prison term, Dutton was sentenced to six days of solitary confinement, which allowed prisoners to take one book. By accident, he grabbed an anthology of black playwrights. He enjoyed the plays so much that, upon his release from confinement, he petitioned the warden to start a drama group for the Christmas talent show. The warden agreed on the condition that Dutton go back to school and get his GED. Dutton accomplished that and went on to eventually complete a two-year college program at Hagerstown Junior College (now Hagerstown Community College) in Hagerstown, Maryland, graduating with an Associate of Arts degree in 1976. Upon his release, he enrolled as a drama major at Towson State University (now known as Towson University) in the Baltimore suburb of Towson, Maryland, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1978. After his time at Towson, Dutton earned a master's degree in acting from the Yale School of Drama in 1983.[1]

     

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    Storey Trucking Company
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