How to Select the Right Trucking School near Talladega Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Talladega AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Talladega home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll get the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose 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 commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Talladega AL, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify 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 discuss Class A and Class 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). Following are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 needed to drive 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. 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Talladega AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are several additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Talladega AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common 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 caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Talladega AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following 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 obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Talladega AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will provide 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 essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Talladega AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Talladega AL schools you are considering are independent or captive 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 graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Talladega 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 certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit 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 obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Talladega AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Talladega 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 get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Truck Driver Training Cost Talladega Alabama
Picking the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driver Training Cost and wanting information on the topic Truck School. However, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower 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 option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Talladega AL.
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Talladega /ˌtæləˈdɪɡə/ is the county seat of Talladega County, Alabama, United States. It was incorporated in 1835. At the 2010 census the population was 15,676. Talladega is approximately 50 miles (80 km) east of Birmingham.
The city is home to the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and the Talladega Municipal Airport, a public general aviation airport. The Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega College and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame are located nearby. The First National Bank of Talladega is the oldest bank in the State of Alabama, being founded in 1848.
The name Talladega is derived from a Muscogee (Creek) Native American word Tvlvtēke, from the Creek tvlwv, meaning "town", and vtēke, meaning "border" – indicating its location on the border between the Creeks and the Natchez. While the town's name is pronounced /ˌtæləˈdɪɡə/ by local inhabitants, the racetrack's name is pronounced /ˌtæləˈdeɪɡə/ by auto racing fans.
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