How to Decide on the Best CDL Driving School near Malcolm Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Malcolm AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Malcolm home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll receive 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 qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Malcolm AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will discuss 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 brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 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 drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Malcolm AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Malcolm AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly 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 Malcolm AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims 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 takes time. Most Malcolm AL schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though 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 important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs among 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. Get in touch with the Malcolm AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Malcolm AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Malcolm AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Malcolm AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Malcolm AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
How To Get Your Class A CDL Malcolm Alabama
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available 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 How To Get Your Class A CDL and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving School. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Malcolm AL.
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Malcolm X (1925–1965) was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement. He is best known for his controversial advocacy for the rights of blacks; some consider him a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans, while others accused him of preaching racism and violence.
Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, he relocated to New York City's Harlem neighborhood in 1943, after spending his teenage years in a series of foster homes following his father's murder and his mother's hospitalization. In New York, Malcolm X engaged in several illicit activities, eventually being sentenced to ten years in prison in 1946 for larceny and breaking and entering. In prison, he joined the Nation of Islam (NOI), and quickly became one of the organization's most influential leaders after being paroled in 1952.
During the civil rights movement, Malcolm X served as the public face of the controversial group for a dozen years, where he advocated for black supremacy, the separation of black and white Americans, and rejected the notion of the civil rights movement for its emphasis on racial integration. He also expressed pride in some of the social achievements he made with the Nation, particularly its free drug rehabilitation program. In the 1950s, Malcolm X endured surveillance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the Nation's supposed links to communism.