How to Choose a CDL Training School near Lanett Alabama
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Lanett AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Lanett residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal means to ensure you’ll obtain the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to learn 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 select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover 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 CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the USA, an operator must get 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 topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Lanett AL, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 descriptions of the two 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 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 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Lanett AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Lanett AL truck driving schools are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Lanett AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Lanett AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the Lanett AL school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential 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 fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Lanett AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of Lanett AL truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive 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 Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the Lanett AL schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Lanett AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession in Lanett AL. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted in Lanett AL.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Trucker?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask truck driving applicants is "What compelled you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a truck driver, but additionally what attributes and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the leading candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Trucking School Lanett AL
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced 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 firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Lanett AL.
A Bit About Lanett Alabama
Lanett is a city in Chambers County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,468, down from 7,897 in 2000. Lanett, originally called Bluffton, is located in eastern Alabama, on the Chattahoochee River, southwest of Atlanta. The city's name is derived from Lafayette Lanier and Theodore Bennett, founders of the West Point Manufacturing Company.
Lanett is located on the eastern edge of Chambers County at 32°51'48.326" North, 85°11'58.862" West (32.863424, -85.199684). Its eastern boundary is the Alabama–Georgia state line, with the town of West Point, Georgia, bordering Lanett to the east. Interstate 85 forms the southeast boundary of Lanett, with the city of Valley, Alabama, on the other side of the highway. The unincorporated community of Huguley is along Lanett's southwest border.
The Chattahoochee River forms the state line and eastern boundary of Lanett from I-85 north to the downtown area, at which point the state line turns north-northwest and becomes a land boundary between Lanett and West Point, Georgia.
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,468 people, 2,723 households, and 1,746 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,040 people per square mile (401.5/km²). There were 3,338 housing units at an average density of 538 per square mile (207/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 57.5% Black or African American, 39.3% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 1.4% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. 2.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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