How to Pick the Best CDL Training School near Mount Vernon Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Mount Vernon AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Mount Vernon home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on 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 eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Mount Vernon AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are short descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 CDL is required to operate 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. 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 may also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger 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 Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Mount Vernon AL trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Mount Vernon AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, 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 Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed 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 Mount Vernon AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning 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 comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Mount Vernon AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through 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 great truck driving school will furnish plenty 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Mount Vernon AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Mount Vernon AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive 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 graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Mount Vernon AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed 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 received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Mount Vernon AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Mount Vernon 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 assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
CDL Schools Mount Vernon Alabama
Selecting the right truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available 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 CDL Schools and wanting information on the topic How To Get Class A CDL. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional 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 in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Mount Vernon AL.
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Mount Vernon, Alabama
Mount Vernon is a town in Mobile County, Alabama, United States. It is included in the Mobile metropolitan statistical area. It incorporated in 1959. At the 2010 census the population was 1,574, up from 844 in 2000.
As of the census of 2000, there were 844 people, 333 households, and 228 families residing in the town. The population density was 446.4 people per square mile (172.4/km²). There were 395 housing units at an average density of 208.9 per square mile (80.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 45.38% White, 52.96% Black or African American, 0.95% Native American, 0.24% from other races, and 0.47% from two or more races. 0.12% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 333 households out of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.8% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.5% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.19.