How to Select the Best Truck Driver School near Fort Deposit Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Fort Deposit AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Fort Deposit residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll receive the appropriate training. 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 target in mind, just how do you choose 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 Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Fort Deposit AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person 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 discuss 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). Below are short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Fort Deposit AL trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, 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 factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Fort Deposit AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, 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. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Fort Deposit AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly 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 period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Fort Deposit AL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide lots of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable 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 Fort Deposit AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Fort Deposit AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Fort Deposit AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit 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 must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask 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 placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Fort Deposit AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Fort Deposit AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
CDL Training Classes Fort Deposit Alabama
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught 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 CDL Training Classes and wanting information on the topic How To Get CDL Class B License. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Fort Deposit AL.
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Fort Deposit, Alabama
Fort Deposit is a town in Lowndes County, Alabama, United States. Since 1890, it has been the largest town in Lowndes County. At the 2010 census the population was 1,344, up from 1,270 in 2000. It is part of the Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area.
This town is named after a fort that was built under the order of General Andrew Jackson. This was a supply fort that was built to serve the soldiers during the Creek Indian War. There is an annual arts and crafts fair called Calico Fort on the second weekend of April every year.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,270 people, 489 households, and 349 families residing in the town. The population density was 225.1 people per square mile (86.9/km²). There were 569 housing units at an average density of 100.9 per square mile (39.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 68.19% Black or African American, 31.50% White and 0.31% from two or more races. 0.47% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.