How to Pick the Best CDL Training Classes near Evergreen Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Evergreen AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Evergreen home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal method to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Evergreen AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 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 passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Evergreen AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few more points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Evergreen AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly 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 Evergreen AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts 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 reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. 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 receiving the personalized attention 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 be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Evergreen AL schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide plenty of 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Evergreen AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Evergreen AL schools you are contemplating 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 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 advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Evergreen AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Evergreen AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Evergreen 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 aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Class A Truck Driving Schools Evergreen Alabama
Picking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several 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 Class A Truck Driving Schools and wanting information on the topic Class B License Training. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Evergreen AL.
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Evergreen, Conecuh County, Alabama
Early settlers to the area came from Georgia and South Carolina beginning in 1818. Evergreen was founded officially in 1819 when Revolutionary War veteran James Cosey and several other men settled within the present limits of the city. The Reverend Alexander Travis first called the town by its present name of Evergreen for the abundance of surrounding green foliage, plants, and ferns.
The former county seat of Sparta was burned in a federal raid during the Civil War. In 1866, the county seat was moved to Evergreen as it was more centrally located in the county. Evergreen was incorporated as a city on March 28, 1873.
In 1882, a tornado hit the city, destroying every building except for the Episcopal church. On November 7, 1895, fire destroyed every business and house located on the east side of the railroad. Five days later, fire destroyed every business and house on the west side. The Conecuh County Courthouse burned in 1868, 1875, 1885, and 1895.