How to Decide on the Best Truck Driving School near Millport Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Millport AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Millport home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to guarantee you’ll receive the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Millport AL, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address 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 descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Millport AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are some more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Millport AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards 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 business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Millport AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. 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 Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Millport AL schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide lots of 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Millport AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Millport AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Millport 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 dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Millport AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Millport AL area technical or vocational 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 least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
How To Get A Truck License Millport Alabama
Choosing the right trucking school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance 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 available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get A Truck License and wanting information on the topic How To Get A Class B CDL. However, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Millport AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
Millport is a town in Lamar County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in 1887. At the 2010 census the population was 1,049, down from 1,160 in 2000. After its incorporation from 1890-1900, it was the largest town in Lamar County, losing the distinction to Sulligent. Since 1940, it has been the 3rd largest town.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,160 people, 495 households, and 328 families residing in the town. The population density was 213.7 people per square mile (82.5/km²). There were 561 housing units at an average density of 103.3 per square mile (39.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 65.52% White, 33.97% Black, 0.09% Native American, and 0.43% from two or more races.
There were 495 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 16.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.96.