How to Enroll in the Right Truck Driving Classes near Valley Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Valley AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Valley residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance 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 Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Valley AL, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight 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). Below are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 required to operate 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 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 operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Valley AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for instance 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 carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Valley AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, 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. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Valley AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual 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 train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Valley AL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Valley AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations 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 giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Valley AL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Valley 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 particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending 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 CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Valley AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Valley AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
School For CDL License Valley Alabama
Picking the right truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available 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 School For CDL License and wanting information on the topic Truck Driver Training Schools. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Valley AL.
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Chambers County, Alabama
Chambers County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 34,215. Its county seat is Lafayette. Its name is in honor of Henry H. Chambers, who served as a United States Senator from Alabama.
Chambers County joined its four mill cities to make the city of Valley (which is now the largest city). Valley is rapidly increasing in size and located between Montgomery, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.
As of the census of 2010, there were 34,215 people, 13,933 households, and 9,391 families residing in the county. The population density was 57 people per square mile (22/km2). There were 17,004 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 58.8% White (non-Hispanic), 38.7% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. 1.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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