How to Pick the Right Trucking Classes near Wetumpka Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Wetumpka AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Wetumpka home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Wetumpka AL, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind 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 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 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 CDL is required to drive 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 school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Wetumpka AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are several more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Wetumpka AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated 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 Wetumpka 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 history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding 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. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Wetumpka AL schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through 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? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide lots 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary 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. Check with the Wetumpka AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Wetumpka AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Wetumpka 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 instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Wetumpka AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Wetumpka AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Best Truck Driving School Wetumpka Alabama
Picking the right truck driving school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Best Truck Driving School and wanting information on the topic CDL School Cost. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Wetumpka AL.
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Wetumpka is a city in and the county seat of Elmore County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,528. In the early 21st century, Elmore County, long a rural area, became one of the fastest-growing counties in the state. The city is considered part of the Montgomery Metropolitan Area.
Wetumpka identifies as "The City of Natural Beauty". Among the notable landmarks are the Wetumpka crater and the Jasmine Hill Gardens, with a full-sized replica of the Temple of Hera of Olympia, Greece. Historic downtown Wetumpka developed on both sides of the Coosa River. It was near Fort Toulouse, built by French colonists in 1717, when they had claimed this territory for the king.
The word Wetumpka is derived from the Muscogee language (Creek) phrase we-wau tum-cau. The name Wetumpka is a historic Creek place word meaning "rumbling waters", believed to be a description of the sound of the nearby Coosa River at the rapids of the Devil's Staircase. The roar of the rapids reportedly could be heard for miles before the construction in the 20th century of Walter Bouldin Dam and Jordan Dam, when the river was captured as a reservoir behind the dam.
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