How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Troy Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Troy AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Troy home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the United States, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Troy AL, we will focus on 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 brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 CDL is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Troy AL trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some more things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Troy AL truck driving schools are accredited because of the demanding 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 a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Troy AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Troy AL schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the Troy AL school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Troy AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain Troy AL trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember 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 some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the Troy AL schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Troy AL school you choose offers 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 instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession in Troy AL. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement 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 placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed in Troy AL.
Why Did You Want to Become a Trucker?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to pick trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a trucking operator, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Choose the Right Truck Driving School Troy AL
Choosing the right truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new profession 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 a number of options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Troy AL.
A Bit About Troy Alabama
Between the years of 1763 and 1783, the area where Troy sits was part of the colony of British West Florida. After 1783 the region fell under the jurisdiction of the newly created United States of America.
As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,033. The 2016 estimated population was 19,191. The City of Troy is considered one of the fastest growing cities in Alabama. Troy is a college town and is home to Troy University, the third-largest university in total enrollment in the state of Alabama.
For many centuries, the area in and around Troy was settled by different tribes of Native Americans, but became primarily known for its Muskogee Creek presence. Most Creek tribes lived along rivers or streams at that time. Near the Troy area, many Native Americans settled around the Conecuh River and the Pea River.
Between the years of 1763 and 1783, the area where Troy would eventually be established was part of the colony of British West Florida. After 1783 the region fell under the jurisdiction of the newly created United States of America. After 1783, the region fell under the jurisdiction of the newly created United States of America. In 1819 the State of Alabama was admitted to the Union and was soon organized into counties. The county that Troy was eventually founded in, known as Pike County, was one of the first counties established in Alabama. It comprised a large tract of country, so large that it was called the "State of Pike", which included parts of what are now Crenshaw, Montgomery, Macon, Bullock, and Barbour counties, and extended to the Chattahoochee River on the east.
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