How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Eight Mile Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Eight Mile AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Eight Mile residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional 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 address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the United States, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Eight Mile AL, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 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 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. Several of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive 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 drive certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Eight Mile AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Eight Mile AL truck driver schools are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks 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 poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Eight Mile AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Eight Mile AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, 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 be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the Eight Mile AL school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Eight Mile AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain Eight Mile AL 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 offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the Eight Mile AL schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Eight Mile AL school you choose provides 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 instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career in Eight Mile AL. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out 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 hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed in Eight Mile AL.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a trucker, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you must organize a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Choose the Best CDL School Eight Mile AL
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Eight Mile AL.
A Bit About Eight Mile Alabama
Eight Miles High
"Eight Miles High" is a song by the American rock band the Byrds, written by Gene Clark, Jim McGuinn (a.k.a. Roger McGuinn), and David Crosby and first released as a single on March 14, 1966 (see 1966 in music). Musically influenced by Ravi Shankar and John Coltrane, "Eight Miles High", along with its McGuinn and Crosby-penned B-side "Why", was influential in developing the musical styles of psychedelic rock, raga rock, and psychedelic pop. Accordingly, critics often cite "Eight Miles High" as being the first bona fide psychedelic rock song, as well as a classic of the counterculture era.
The song was subject to a U.S. radio ban shortly after its release, following allegations published in the broadcasting trade journal the Gavin Report regarding perceived drug connotations in its lyrics. The band strenuously denied these allegations at the time, but in later years both Clark and Crosby admitted that the song was at least partly inspired by their own drug use. The failure of "Eight Miles High" to reach the Billboard Top 10 is usually attributed to the broadcasting ban, but some commentators have suggested that the song's complexity and uncommercial nature were greater factors.
"Eight Miles High" reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 24 in the UK Singles Chart. The song was also included on the band's third album, Fifth Dimension, which was released on July 18, 1966. "Eight Miles High" became the Byrds' third and final U.S. Top 20 hit, and was also their last release before the departure of Gene Clark, the band's principal songwriter at the time.
The song's lyrics are, for the most part, about the group's flight to London in August 1965 and their accompanying English tour, as hinted at by the opening couplet: "Eight miles high and when you touch down, you'll find that it's stranger than known." Although commercial airliners fly at an altitude of six to seven miles, it was felt that "eight miles high" sounded more poetic than six and also recalled the title of the Beatles' song "Eight Days a Week".
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