How to Select the Right CDL Driving Classes near Glenwood Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Glenwood AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get 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 consider prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Glenwood residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to ensure you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your objective 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 objective in mind, just how do you select 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Glenwood AL, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries for the 2 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 needed to drive 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. 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Glenwood AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are some more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Glenwood AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, 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 indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked 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 best of Glenwood AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next 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 getting the personal 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 professes 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. The majority of Glenwood AL schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide plenty 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 operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Glenwood AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Glenwood AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available 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 competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Glenwood 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 instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Glenwood AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Glenwood AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
How To Get Class B License Glenwood Alabama
Choosing the right truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many 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 How To Get Class B License and wanting information on the topic Truck Driver Training Program. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Glenwood AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
As of the census of 2000, there were 191 people, 92 households, and 58 families residing in the town. The population density was 262.8 people per square mile (101.0/km²). There were 118 housing units at an average density of 162.3 per square mile (62.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 69.11% White, 29.84% Black or African American, and 1.05% from two or more races. 0.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 92 households out of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.59.
In the town, the population was spread out with 18.3% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.3 males.