How to Pick the Right Trucking School near Thomaston Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Thomaston AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Thomaston home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Thomaston AL, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 descriptions for the 2 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 more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 more 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 might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Thomaston AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Thomaston AL area are accredited because of the stringent 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 certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Thomaston AL schools had to start 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 relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher 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 be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Thomaston AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best 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 ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Thomaston AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Thomaston AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Thomaston AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit 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 accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Thomaston AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Thomaston AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Cost Of CDL Training Thomaston Alabama
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning 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 several options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Cost Of CDL Training and wanting information on the topic Certified CDL Truck Driving Schools. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Thomaston AL.
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Thomaston is a town in Marengo County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 417, up from 383 in 2000. Thomaston is home to the Pepper Jelly Festival which takes place the last Saturday of April and celebrates Thomaston's famous Mama Nem's pepper jelly, as well as, folk artists and other vendors. As Thomaston's water tower reads, "Eat Pepper Jelly".
Thomaston was platted in 1901 when the railroad was extended to that point. Thomaston was named for C. B. Thomas, a town promoter. A post office called Thomaston has been in operation since 1892. It was incorporated on November 15, 1901.
Thomaston has one historic district, the Thomaston Central Historic District, which encompasses the core of the town. Additionally, there are three individually listed properties on the National Register of Historic Places: the Thomaston Colored Institute, C. S. Golden House, and Patrick Farrish House. The town is home to the Alabama Rural Heritage Center, and the Thomaston Community Market, both community projects of Auburn University's Rural Studio.. Thomaston is also home to the Alabama Whitetail Records Museum.