How to Pick a Truck Driver School near Lincoln Alabama
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Lincoln AL. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to think about before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Lincoln residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the United States, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Lincoln AL, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 needed to drive 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. 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 need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Lincoln AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Lincoln AL truck driver schools are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical 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 standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively 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 Lincoln AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Lincoln AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the Lincoln AL 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 level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good standard 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 Lincoln 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 some Lincoln AL truck driving 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 rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the Lincoln AL schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Lincoln AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit 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 obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career in Lincoln AL. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to 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 evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted in Lincoln AL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Trucker?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask truck driving prospects is "What compelled you to pick trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a trucking operator, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must ready a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Ideal CDL School Lincoln AL
Picking the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive 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 several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Lincoln AL.
A Bit About Lincoln Alabama
Albert Lincoln Roker Jr. (born August 20, 1954) is an American television personality, weatherman, actor, and author. He is the weather anchor on NBC's Today. Roker appears occasionally on NBC Nightly News. He has an inactive American Meteorological Society Television Seal #238.
On November 12, 2014, 10 PM EST, Roker attempted to beat the unofficial world record for an uninterrupted live weather report of 33 hours held by Norwegian weather broadcaster Eli Kari Gjengedal. On November 14, 2014, 8 AM EST, Roker set the Guinness World Record by reporting for 34 hours.
Al Roker was born in Queens, New York, the son of Isabel, of Jamaican descent, and Albert Lincoln Roker Sr., a bus driver of Bahamian descent. Roker initially wanted to be a cartoonist. He was raised Catholic (in the faith of his mother) and graduated from Xavier High School in Manhattan. He worked on several projects as a member of the school's Cartooning & Illustration Club. He attended the State University of New York at Oswego where he received a B.A. in communications in 1976.
According to the July 2011 issue of Us Weekly in "25 Things You Did Not Know About Me", Roker is the first cousin once removed of the late actress Roxie Roker, who was most notable for her role as Helen Willis on the sitcom The Jeffersons and the mother of popular rock musician Lenny Kravitz, making Kravitz Roker's second cousin.
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