Truck Driver School Eldridge AL

How to Decide on the Right Trucking School near Eldridge Alabama

tractor truck in Eldridge AL Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Eldridge AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by choosing 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 selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Eldridge home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?

Eldridge AL long haul tractor trailerIn order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Eldridge AL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 select 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). Below are brief summaries for the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 CDL is needed to drive 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 need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.

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How to Evaluate a CDL School

Eldridge AL truck driving schoolAfter you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Eldridge AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Eldridge AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking 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. Having said that, even the top Eldridge AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly 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 drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Eldridge AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. 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 vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Eldridge AL schools you are considering 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 driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff 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 reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Eldridge AL schools you are looking at 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 third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Eldridge AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend 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 fit in working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Eldridge AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Eldridge AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.

Truck Driver School Eldridge Alabama

Eldridge AL long haul truckChoosing the right trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driver School and wanting information on the topic Get My CDL.  However, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Eldridge AL.

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    Eldridge, Alabama

    As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 184 people, 69 households, and 52 families residing in the town. The population density was 262.9 people per square mile (101.5/km2). There were 79 housing units at an average density of 112.9 per square mile (43.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.65% White and 4.35% Black or African American. 2.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

    There were 69 households out of which 21.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.6% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.6% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.71.

    In the town, the population was spread out with 28.8% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 21.2% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 22.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 65.8 males.

     

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