How to Decide on the Right Truck Driving School near Lowndesboro Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Lowndesboro AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Lowndesboro residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills 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 discuss in the remainder 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?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Lowndesboro AL, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions 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 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 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. 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Lowndesboro AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Lowndesboro AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Lowndesboro AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding 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 comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Lowndesboro AL schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will furnish lots 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Lowndesboro AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Lowndesboro 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 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Lowndesboro 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 particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Lowndesboro AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Lowndesboro AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
I Want To Be A Truck Driver Lowndesboro Alabama
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new vocation 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 several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in I Want To Be A Truck Driver and wanting information on the topic How To Choose A CDL Driving School. However, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Lowndesboro AL.
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Lowndesboro is a town in Lowndes County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 115, down from 140 in 2000. It is part of the Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area. Although initially incorporated in 1856 by an act of the state legislature, it lapsed and was not reincorporated until 1962.
As of the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Censuses, Lowndesboro, along with Benton, are the only two towns (out of 7) in Lowndes County with a white majority of residents. Both are the 6th (Lowndesboro) and 7th (Benton) smallest communities.
Originally known as McGill's Hill, the community began attracting settlers following the conclusion of the Creek War. In 1832, the residents changed the name to Lowndesboro in honor of U.S. Congressman William Lowndes, the son of Rawlins Lowndes, an early South Carolina governor.