How to Find the Right Truck Driver School near Owens Cross Roads Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Owens Cross Roads AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Owens Cross Roads residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Owens Cross Roads AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind 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 descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 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 needed 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. A few 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 might also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Owens Cross Roads AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Owens Cross Roads AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Owens Cross Roads AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters 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 considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Owens Cross Roads 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 previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, 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 real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Owens Cross Roads AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff 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 restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Owens Cross Roads AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Owens Cross Roads AL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Owens Cross Roads AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Owens Cross Roads 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 assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
CDL License Requirements Owens Cross Roads Alabama
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL License Requirements and wanting information on the topic Weekend CDL Training. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Owens Cross Roads AL.
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Owens Cross Roads, Alabama
Owens Cross Roads is a town in Madison County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. It was incorporated in 1967. As of the 2010 Census, the population of the town was 1,521.
Owens Cross Roads first appeared on maps in 1850, and was named for a family of early settlers. A post office was established in 1861. The town relied heavily on cotton cultivation throughout much of its early history, with some crop diversification coming in the 1920s and 1930s.
Owens Cross Roads is located at 34°35′10″N 86°27′31″W / 34.58611°N 86.45861°W / 34.58611; -86.45861 (34.586071, -86.458561). The town is situated in a broad valley carved by the Flint River. Rugged hills and mountains surround the town, including Green Mountain to the west, and Keel Mountain to the east. Huntsville lies across Green Mountain to the northwest, New Hope lies just to the southeast, and Paint Rock lies across Keel Mountain to the northeast. U.S. Route 431 passes through Owens Cross Roads, connecting the town with Huntsville and Guntersville.
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