How to Select the Best Trucker School near Moulton Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Moulton AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Moulton residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to make certain you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable 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? 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 CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Moulton AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Moulton AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are a few more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Moulton AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Moulton AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must 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 greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction 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 train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Moulton AL schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. 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 keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. After all, 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Moulton AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, 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 have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Moulton AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Moulton AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an 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 working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Moulton AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Moulton AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Driving Truck School Moulton Alabama
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Driving Truck School and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving School Requirements. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want 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 driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Moulton AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
Moulton is a city in Lawrence County, Alabama, United States and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, as well as the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. Although it incorporated in 1819, along with its rival of Courtland, to compete for the honor of county seat, it did not first appear on the U.S. Census rolls until 1900. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 3,471, its record high. The city has been the county seat of Lawrence County since 1820. It has been the largest community in the county since the 1920 U.S. Census.
By the time Alabama became a state in 1819, an inn had been erected at the site of what is now Moulton to serve migrants along the various early paths that passed through the area. Shortly after Alabama achieved statehood, both Moulton and Courtland (to the north) incorporated and competed for the county seat of Lawrence County. Governor Thomas Bibb awarded the seat to Moulton as the most centrally located of the two within the county. The city is named for Lieutenant Michael Moulton, a soldier killed while fighting under General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814.
Moulton is located at 34°28′56″N 87°17′8″W / 34.48222°N 87.28556°W / 34.48222; -87.28556 (34.482307, -87.285621). The city is concentrated along Alabama State Route 33 southwest of Decatur. Alabama State Route 24 passes through the northern part of the city, and Alabama State Route 157 passes through its eastern section. The William B. Bankhead National Forest lies to the southwest of Moulton.