How to Enroll in the Right Trucking School near Perdue Hill Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Perdue Hill AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to think about before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Perdue Hill home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, 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 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 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?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Perdue Hill AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses 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 driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 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 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 operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Perdue Hill AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Perdue Hill AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated 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 an ample amount of driving time. For 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Perdue Hill AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following 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 getting 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 teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Perdue Hill AL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Perdue Hill AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive 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 instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with 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 restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Perdue Hill AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Perdue Hill AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Perdue Hill AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Perdue Hill AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. 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 need to be submitted.
Schools For Truck Driving Perdue Hill Alabama
Picking the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Schools For Truck Driving and wanting information on the topic How Can I Get My CDL License. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to think about 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 driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Perdue Hill AL.
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Jon B. Perdue
Jon B. Perdue is an American counterterrorism author and analyst. He is a special assistant at the Department of the Treasury for the Trump administration. He is also an inventor who appears on season one of the CNBC reality docu-series Make Me a Millionaire Inventor. He has worked for educational and security-related think tanks in Washington, DC and Latin America, and has lectured on asymmetric warfare and strategic communication. He has written for national security publications and has published articles in Investor's Business Daily, The Washington Times, Fox News,The Miami Herald, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has given testimony on national and international security issues before members of the U.S. congress and to members of the European Parliament.
Perdue grew up in Thomaston, Georgia, and graduated from the University of North Georgia (formerly North Georgia College), a senior military college in Dahlonega, Georgia, with a degree in finance, and served in the Georgia Army National Guard.
Perdue worked for several years as a business consultant, later becoming the vice president of business development for Infectech, a Pennsylvania-based biotech company, until it was acquired by Nutrapharma in October 2003. Following the Nutrapharma acquisition, Perdue moved to Latin America to start a company importing ambulances and medical equipment and setting up medical clinics for underserved patients in partnership with the non-profit Salud sin Fronteras (Healthcare Without Borders). After selling the medical import business in 2004, he began working with non-profit education-focused think tanks in Latin America and the U.S. In 2008, he moved to Washington, DC to become the founding director of the Institute for Leadership in the Americas, a Latin America-focused educational program of The Fund for American Studies.