How to Decide on a CDL Driving School near Linden Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Linden AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Linden home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in Alabama and within the USA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Linden AL, we will discuss 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 two 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. Some 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed 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. A few 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 operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Linden AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Linden AL trucking schools are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given 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 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 indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Linden AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Linden AL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher 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. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the Linden AL school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide sufficient 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Linden AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from certain Linden AL truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the Linden AL schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Linden AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing 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 Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession in Linden AL. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage 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 not many employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational 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 least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed in Linden AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Truck Driver?When preparing to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask truck driving prospects is "What compelled you to select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since 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, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Select the Best Truck Driving School Linden AL
Picking the right trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation 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 a number of options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Linden AL.
A Bit About Linden Alabama
Settled prior to 1818, the community was first known as Screamersville, due to the cry of wild animals that could be heard during the night. It became the county seat in 1819 and was then known as the Town of Marengo. This was changed to Hohenlinden in 1823 to honor the county's earliest European settlers, French Bonapartist refugees to the Vine and Olive Colony. The name of Hohenlinden was chosen to commemorate a battle in 1800 at Hohenlinden, Germany, in which the French were victorious over the Austrians and Bavarians. The spelling was later simplified to Linden.
Linden is located at 32°18′4″N 87°47′34″W / 32.30111°N 87.79278°W / 32.30111; -87.79278 (32.301154, -87.792650). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2), of which 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.83%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,424 people, 938 households, and 662 families residing in the city. The population density was 675.6 people per square mile (260.7/km²). There were 1,084 housing units at an average density of 302.1 per square mile (116.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 52.43% White, 46.20% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.33% Asian, and 0.87% from two or more races. 1.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 938 households out of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 22.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4% were non-families. 27.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.98.
More Cities of Interest in Alabama