Truck Driving School Near Me Gardendale AL

How to Enroll in the Best Truck Driver School near Gardendale Alabama

tractor truck in Gardendale AL Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Gardendale AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Gardendale home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.

Which CDL Will You Need?

Gardendale AL long haul tractor trailerIn order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Gardendale AL, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class 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). Following are short explanations 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Several of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.

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How to Research a CDL School

Gardendale AL truck driving schoolWhen you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Gardendale AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are some additional points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Gardendale AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Gardendale AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized attention 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 be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Gardendale AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark 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 Gardendale AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified 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 maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Gardendale 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 several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Gardendale AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Gardendale AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.

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

Truck Driving School Near Me Gardendale Alabama

Gardendale AL long haul truckSelecting the right truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered 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 Truck Driving School Near Me and wanting information on the topic Trucking Classes.  However, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want 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 select an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm 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 soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Gardendale AL.

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    Gardendale, Alabama

    A large farm settlement near the area today known as Gardendale was settled around 1825. Some years later, other settlers began to move into the community commonly known as Jugtown, a name given to the area based on the presence of a large jug and churn factory that operated in the area. Some years later, Hettie Thomason Cargo, a school teacher, would lead a campaign to change the name of the community. In 1906, the name Gardendale was selected, and in 1955, the City of Gardendale was officially incorporated. Today, with more than 13,000 residents (estimated), the city of Gardendale has grown to include more than 400 businesses, 4 schools, and 24 churches.[5]

    In 1996, the Olympic torch run passed through the city during the weeks leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Before Interstate 65 was constructed, the main route between Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama was U.S. Route 31. Prior to being built as a four-lane road, U.S. 31 was a twisting two-lane road that is still largely visible today. From the north end of Gardendale, it is now Snow Rogers Road, North Road, Moncrief Road, and then Main Street southward through the city to the Fultondale city limit where it becomes Stouts Road. In the fall of 2008, new signs were placed along the original route of Stouts Road through Gardendale denoting its historical significance as a stagecoach route between Tennessee and Birmingham during the 19th century. The first traffic signals in the city were located along U.S. 31 at Tarrant Road, Fieldstown Road, and Moncrief Road as well as Tarrant Road at Pineywood Road. A new signal at the intersection of Fieldstown Road and Main Street near city hall replaced a blinking signal shortly thereafter. Fieldstown Road was a narrow two lane road from U.S. 31 westward until Interstate 65 was built and then Fieldstown Road was re-routed onto the new road in the mid-1980s. An abundance of traffic signals have been erected in the city since those early days. In approximately 1970, the city installed street lights along U.S. 31 from the Fultondale city limits northward to the Moncrief Road intersection. The technology at that time was for blue vapor lights. Today, nearly 40 years later those same blue vapor lights still exist with some being replaced with the more modern bulbs near major intersections. Since 1980, Gardendale has annexed considerable amounts of land on the north, east, and west sides. Much of the eastern area is uninhabited. The western annexation is centered along Fieldstown Road. Most of the newest residential development has been in this area and along Shady Grove Road south of Fieldstown Road. The northern annexation has centered along US 31 and extends nearly 2 miles (3.2 km) farther north than 1980. The city has a working historical society, established January 23, 2006, that is working to record the history of the Gardendale area. They have a museum that is open to the public on Saturday mornings each week. It contains a variety of photographs, documents, and other historical memorabilia from Gardendale.[citation needed]

    Gardendale is located at 33°39′36″N 86°48′46″W / 33.66000°N 86.81278°W / 33.66000; -86.81278 (33.6601033, -86.8127702).[1] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (47 km2), all land. However, with the recent annexation of several thousand acres from the community of Mt. Olive and other unincorporated areas, the city now has an estimated total area of around 25.0 square miles (65 km2). Gardendale is situated along one of the three major transportation corridors from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast (I-75, I-65, I-55). A tremendous volume of freight (via rail and truck) passes through or near Gardendale.

     

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