How to Enroll in the Right Trucking School near Phil Campbell Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Phil Campbell AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Phil Campbell home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best way 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 examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Phil Campbell AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify 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 discuss Class A and Class 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). Following are brief summaries of 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 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 CDL is needed to operate 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. A few 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 may also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Phil Campbell AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are a few additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Phil Campbell AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, 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 several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Phil Campbell AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Phil Campbell AL schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may 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 completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide ample 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Phil Campbell AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom 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 best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Phil Campbell 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 permit 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 offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Phil Campbell AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask 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 placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Phil Campbell AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Phil Campbell AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
How To Choose A Truck Driving School Phil Campbell Alabama
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local 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 vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Choose A Truck Driving School and wanting information on the topic CDL A Class. However, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to look into 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 choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Phil Campbell AL.
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Phil Campbell, Alabama
Phil Campbell is located in southeastern Franklin County at 34°21′05″N 87°42′27″W / 34.351505°N 87.707414°W / 34.351505; -87.707414.Alabama State Route 13 passes through the town, leading north 12 miles (19 km) to Russellville and south 12 miles (19 km) to Haleyville.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,091 people, 458 households, and 317 families residing in the town. The population density was 267.4 people per square mile (103.2/km²). There were 535 housing units at an average density of 131.1 per square mile (50.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.99% White, 0.27% Native American, 0.18% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. 0.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 458 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.4% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 28.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.94.