How to Select the Right Truck Driver School near Pike Road Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Pike Road AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Pike Road home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Pike Road AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will address Class A and 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). Below are brief descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Pike Road AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are a few more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Pike Road AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving 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. Having said that, even the top Pike Road AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
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 instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal attention 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 teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Pike Road AL schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher 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 little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver 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 operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Pike Road AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Pike Road AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Pike Road AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. 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 obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Pike Road AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Pike Road AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
How To Choose CDL Training Pike Road Alabama
Picking the right trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered 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 How To Choose CDL Training and wanting information on the topic CDL Training Course. But first and foremost, you must receive 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 may need 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 trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Pike Road AL.
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Pike Road, Alabama
Pike Road is a town in Montgomery County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population of the town was 310. The 2010 census indicated a population of 5,406. It is part of the Montgomery metropolitan area.
The current town council members are: Chris Dunn, Angie Bradsher, Betsy Atkins, Leroy Tolliver and Rob Steindorff. The Pike Road Town Council meets at 7:00 p.m. on the second Monday of each month as well as the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7:00 a.m. Meetings are held in the council chamber at Pike Road Town Hall (9575 Vaughn Road).
By the time of the 2010 census, there were 5,406 people residing in Pike Road with the town now having 1,933 households, and 1606 families. The town's population grew almost 20-fold since the 2000 census, making it one of the fastest growing incorporated places in Alabama with a population of over 5,000 in 2010. Population is 8,777 as of 2016.
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