How to Choose the Right Trucker Classes near Maplesville Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Maplesville AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Maplesville home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest 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?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Maplesville AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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. 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 might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Maplesville AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for instance 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 carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Maplesville AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Maplesville AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts 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 researching are in compliance.
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 cover more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Maplesville AL schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, 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 necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Maplesville AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Maplesville AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Maplesville AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. 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 obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Maplesville AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Maplesville AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Truck Driving School Tuition Maplesville Alabama
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving School Tuition and wanting information on the topic CDL Class. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver 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 Maplesville AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
The town of Maplesville first began to grow in a location 3 miles (5 km) east of its present location, near Mulberry Creek. European settlers migrated to the area from Georgia and the Carolinas following the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814, after the Native Americans who had been living there were defeated. The town was named after Stephen W. Maples, a merchant and the town's first postmaster.
The town was located at the crossroads of two important trading routes: the Elyton Road from Selma to Birmingham, and the Fort Jackson Road from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery. By 1850, the original town of Maplesville had a population of 809. The town had two horse-racing tracks, which brought visitors to the town, and had several inns and taverns to accommodate the stagecoach traffic.
The original town site began to decline in the early 1850s, after two railway lines were completed 3 miles west of the town.. The Alabama & Tennessee River Railway was constructed through in 1853. That same year, a depot was constructed at that location. Residents and businesspeople from the original Maplesville began moving closer to the railroad, and when the Maplesville Post Office was relocated to the railroad town in 1856, the new town was renamed Maplesville. The original town site gradually became deserted, and all that remains today is the Old Maplesville Cemetery along Route 191.