How to Pick a CDL Training School near Shannon Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Shannon AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Shannon residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the USA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Shannon AL, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 needed to operate 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Shannon AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Shannon AL trucking schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Shannon AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance 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 hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Shannon AL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of 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 advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the Shannon AL school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable 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 Shannon AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain Shannon AL truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous 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 giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the Shannon AL schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Shannon AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession in Shannon AL. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed in Shannon AL.
Why Did You Want to Become a Trucker?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask truck driving candidates is "What made you choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a trucker, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Shannon AL
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might 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 select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Shannon AL.
A Bit About Shannon Alabama
Shannon Jerod Shorter (born August 1, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for Al Riyadi of the Lebanese Basketball League. The 193cm Texan joined the 36ers in 2017 following a seven-season professional career which took him to China, Argentina, Japan, Israel, Mexico, Turkey and France.
Shorter played four years of college basketball between 2007 and 2011. After spending his freshman season with Texas A&M–Corpus Christi, Shorter joined Paris Junior College for his sophomore year. He returned to a Division 1 school in 2009, joining North Texas. In 66 games for North Texas over two seasons, he averaged 6.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.
On September 23, 2016, Shorter signed with TED Ankara Kolejliler of the Turkish Basketball Super League. In March 2017, he left Ankara and joined French team Le Mans Sarthe Basket for the rest of the season.
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