How to Decide on the Best Truck Driver School near Leighton Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Leighton AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work prospects. 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 various variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Leighton residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, 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 target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss 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 CDL Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Leighton AL, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify 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 highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Leighton 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 considerations. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Leighton AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate 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 top Leighton AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing 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 trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction 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 time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Leighton AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Leighton AL schools you are looking at 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 truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called 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 less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Leighton AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Leighton AL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Leighton AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Leighton 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 reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
School For Truck Driving Leighton Alabama
Selecting the right trucking school is an important 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 forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered 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 School For Truck Driving and wanting information on the topic CDL Training Classes Near Me. However, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Leighton AL.
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Leighton is a town in Colbert County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Florence - Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area known as "The Shoals". At the 2010 census the population was 729. Leighton has been hit by several tornadoes in the 2000s, including a damaging EF2 on May 8, 2008, that was caught on tape flipping over many cars and damaging buildings.
The first settlers in what is now Leighton arrived in the early 1810s. The community was initially known as "Crossroads" for its location at the intersection of two early stage coach roads. The name was later changed to "Leighton" for town's first postmaster, the Reverend William Leigh. The town developed as a cotton shipping center in the 1830s after the Tuscumbia, Courtland and Decatur Railroad constructed a railroad line through the area. Leighton incorporated in 1890.
Leighton originally straddled the county line of Franklin and Lawrence Counties. When Colbert County was carved off in 1867, the town still remained divided between the new county and Lawrence. On the 1880 U.S. Census, it reported having 196 residents on the Colbert County side and 83 on the Lawrence County side. After the 1890 Census, Colbert County's eastern border was expanded eastward several miles to Town Creek, placing Leighton wholly within Colbert.