How to Pick the Best Trucker School near Jemison Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Jemison AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Jemison residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal 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 remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Jemison AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick 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). Following are short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Jemison AL trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some additional points that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Jemison AL area are accredited because of the stringent 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking 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. On the other hand, even the best of Jemison 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 concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual 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 teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Jemison AL schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify 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. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary among 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. Contact the Jemison AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Jemison AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third 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 provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Jemison AL school you select 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 instructor 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 must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Jemison AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Jemison AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Obtaining CDL License Jemison Alabama
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Obtaining CDL License and wanting information on the topic Trucker Schools. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated 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 Jemison AL.
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Mae Carol Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American engineer, physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel in space when she served as an astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. After graduating medical school and a brief general practice, Jemison served in the Peace Corps from 1985 until 1987. In 1987 her application to become an astronaut was accepted by NASA and on September 12, 1992 she was a mission specialist aboard STS-47. In 1993 she resigned from NASA and founded a company researching the application of technology to daily life. She has appeared on television several times, including as an actress in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She is a dancer and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities. She is the current principal of the 100 Year Starship organization.
Mae Carol Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama, on October 17, 1956, the youngest child of Charlie Jemison and Dorothy Green. Her father was a maintenance supervisor for a charity organization, and her mother worked most of her career as an elementary school teacher of English and math at the Beethoven School in Chicago.
The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, when Jemison was three years old, to take advantage of the better educational and employment opportunities there. Jemison says that as a young girl growing up in Chicago she always assumed she would get into space. "I thought, by now, we'd be going into space like you were going to work." She said it was easier to apply to be a shuttle astronaut, "rather than waiting around in a cornfield, waiting for ET to pick me up or something."