How to Pick a Truck Driver School near Bremen Alabama
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Bremen AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to think about before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Bremen home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally in Alabama and within the United States, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Bremen AL, 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 short descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Bremen AL trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Bremen AL truck driving schools are accredited due to the rigorous 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 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Bremen AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. 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 attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Bremen AL schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the Bremen AL school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Bremen AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of Bremen AL truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally 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 get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the Bremen AL schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Bremen AL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new career in Bremen AL. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed in Bremen AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask truck driving applicants is "What made you decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a trucker, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Select the Best Trucking School Bremen AL
Selecting the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need 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 school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Bremen AL.
A Bit About Bremen Alabama
The Bremen community was founded with the name Empire in 1860. In order to prevent confusion with another Empire community in the state, the name was changed in 1879 by the town's first postmaster, James Macentepe. The name was chosen to honor the city of Bremen, Germany.
Bremen is located at 33°59′40″N 86°58′12″W / 33.99444°N 86.97000°W / 33.99444; -86.97000. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the land area of the CCD is about 148.16 square miles (88.9 km2).
According to the 2000 census, the Bremen census county division (which also included Colony, part of Dodge City, and part of Good Hope) had a population of 8,198 with a population density of about 33.2/km2 (55.3/sq mi). There were 3,158 households and 2,488 families in the CCD. The racial makeup of the CCD was 92.6% White, 5.98% Black, <1% from other races, and <1% from two or more races. <1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The median age of the CCD was 37.3. 24.5% of the population were under age 18, 8.5% were age 18 to 24, 28.8% were age 25 to 44, 26.1% were age 45 to 64, and 12% were age 65 or older. There were 101.4 males for every 100 females in the CCD.
More Cities of Interest in Alabama