How to Find a Truck Driver School near Abbeville Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Abbeville AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Abbeville residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose 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 review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Alabama and within the United States, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Abbeville AL, we will focus on 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). Below are brief descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate 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 drive 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. Some 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 may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Abbeville AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, 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 factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Abbeville AL trucking schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 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 operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Abbeville AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Abbeville AL schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential 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 a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the Abbeville 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 happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Abbeville AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain Abbeville AL truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver 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 maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free 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 some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the Abbeville AL schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Abbeville AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession in Abbeville AL. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio 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 low job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. 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 need to be submitted in Abbeville AL.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Trucker?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a truck driver, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready some ideas about how you want to address them. Because there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Choose the Right Trucking School Abbeville AL
Picking the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation 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 a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to consider 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 enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many 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 Abbeville AL.
A Bit About Abbeville Alabama
Abbeville is a city in Henry County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the population was 2,688. The city is the county seat of Henry County. It is the first city alphabetically, both by city and state, in the Rand McNally Road Atlas. It is home to two high schools: Abbeville High School and Abbeville Christian Academy. It holds chapters of the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.
Abbeville is located at 31°33′59″N 85°15′5″W / 31.56639°N 85.25139°W / 31.56639; -85.25139Coordinates: 31°33′59″N 85°15′5″W / 31.56639°N 85.25139°W / 31.56639; -85.25139 (31.566367, -85.251300). The city is located in southeastern Alabama along U.S. Route 431, Alabama State Route 10, and Alabama State Route 27 approximately 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Dothan and 23 mi (37 km) south-southwest of Eufaula.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Abbeville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Abbeville is the oldest remaining colonial settlement in East Alabama from Florida to the Tennessee line. It’s older than the county of Henry and the State of Alabama. The city was named for "Abbe", a local Muscogee Indian man at the time of the town's settlement. The name means "a grove of dogwood trees.” An active trading post was located in Abbeville in Alabama Territory early in 1819. The first settler gateway to the wiregrass was at Franklin located fourteen miles west of Abbeville.
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