How to Enroll in the Best Truck Driving Classes near Georgiana Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Georgiana AL. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Georgiana home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Georgiana AL, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and 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). Below are short descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Georgiana AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Georgiana AL area are accredited because of the stringent 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 obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Georgiana AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use 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 share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Georgiana AL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. 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 vital that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish sufficient 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important 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 become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Georgiana AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Georgiana 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 allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Georgiana AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement 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 placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Georgiana AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Georgiana AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Truck Driver Schools Georgiana Alabama
Selecting the right trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of 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 Schools and wanting information on the topic CDL Job Training. However, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might 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 CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Georgiana AL.
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Georgiana is located in southern Butler County at 31°38'24.313" North, 86°44'21.991" West (31.640087, -86.739442).Interstate 65 passes to the northwest of the town, with access from exit 114 (State Route 106). U.S. Route 31 (Mobile Road) passes through the east side of the town, leading north 16 miles (26 km) to Greenville, the county seat. Via I-65, it is 58 miles (93 km) north to Montgomery, the state capital, and 110 miles (180 km) southwest to Mobile.
As of the census of 2010, there were 738 people, 249 households, and 220 families residing in the town. The population density was 279 people per square mile (107.6/km²). There were 777 housing units at an average density of 123.3 per square mile (48.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 65.4% Black or African American, 33.1% White, 0.3% Native American, and 0.8% from two or more races. 0.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 249 households out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.1% were married couples living together, 25.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.06.