How to Decide on the Best Truck Driver School near Midway Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Midway AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Midway residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll receive the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to master 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 discuss in the rest 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 Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Midway AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes 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 type 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 of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 CDL 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Midway AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Midway AL area are accredited because of 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 several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated 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 Midway 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 track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss 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 higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention 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 frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Midway AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified 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 a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish plenty of 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. 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 instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Midway AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
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 drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Midway AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. 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 convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Midway AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Midway AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Midway AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Truck Driver License Class Midway Alabama
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many 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 Truck Driver License Class and wanting information on the topic CDL Driver Training. However, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Midway AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
Margaret Elizabeth Merritt of Midway sold two acres for $5 to the State of Alabama in 1921 as a site for an elementary school for African-American children. Built in 1922 with matching Rosenwald funds, the Midway Colored Public School featured oak and pine construction and two classrooms divided by a partition. The building is one of the few surviving of the more than 5,000 rural black schools built with contributions for the Julius Rosenwald Fund. The building was enlarged twice then renovated in 1978. It is now used as a community center. It was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on November 2, 1990 and the National Register of Historic Places on February 20, 1998.
Midway is located on the U.S. Route 82, the Jefferson Davis Highway, 13 miles (21 km) east of Union Springs, the county seat. It is 27 miles (43 km) east to Eufaula via US-82. Alabama State Route 51 leads south 16 miles (26 km) to Clayton.
As of the census of 2000, there were 457 people, 189 households, and 124 families residing in the town. The population density was 290.3 people per square mile (112.4/km²). There were 230 housing units at an average density of 146.1 per square mile (56.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 88.84% Black or African American and 11.16% White. 0.22% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.