CDL Truck Driving Schools Fairfield AL

How to Choose the Best Truck Driving School near Fairfield Alabama

tractor truck in Fairfield AL Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Fairfield AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Fairfield home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.

Which CDL Will You Require?

Fairfield AL long haul tractor trailerTo operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Fairfield AL, a driver must attain 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. Since the topic of this article is how to pick 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions for 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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. Several 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 certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.

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How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School

Fairfield AL truck driving schoolAs soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Fairfield AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole 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 should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Fairfield AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Fairfield AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, 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. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning 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 time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Fairfield AL schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Fairfield AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Fairfield AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Fairfield AL school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Fairfield AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Fairfield AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.

CDL Truck Driving Schools Fairfield Alabama

Fairfield AL long haul truckPicking the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning 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 critical to a new driver’s success.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Truck Driving Schools and wanting information on the topic Best CDL Schools.  However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to think about 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Fairfield AL.

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    Fairfield, Alabama

    Fairfield is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area and is located southeast of Pleasant Grove. The population was 11,117 at the 2010 census.

    This city was founded in 1910 in which the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony was former President Theodore Roosevelt. It was originally named Corey, after an executive of U.S. Steel Corporation. The name was later changed to the city in which the President of U.S. Steel lived, Fairfield, Connecticut. It was planned as a model city by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to house workers in their new Fairfield Works plant, now owned by U.S. Steel, similar to its northeastern city of Ensley.

    As of the census of 2000, there were 12,381 people, 4,600 households, and 3,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,503.8 people per square mile (1,354.2/km²). There were 4,960 housing units at an average density of 1,403.7 per square mile (542.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 8.90% White, 90.23% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

     

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