How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Autaugaville Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Autaugaville AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Autaugaville residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the United States, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Autaugaville AL, we will focus on Class A and 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). Following are brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 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 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Autaugaville AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Autaugaville AL truck driving schools are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Autaugaville AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Autaugaville AL schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though 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 current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the Autaugaville 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 quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide plenty 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 necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good 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 Autaugaville AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from certain Autaugaville AL truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the Autaugaville AL schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Autaugaville AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession in Autaugaville AL. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. 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 Autaugaville AL.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask truck driving prospects is "What made you decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a trucker, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare some approaches about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the leading candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Best Truck Driver School Autaugaville AL
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to consider 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 choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Autaugaville AL.
A Bit About Autaugaville Alabama
As of the census of 2010, there were 870 people, 350 households, and 243 families residing in the town. The population density was 114.2 people per square mile (44.1/km2). There were 412 housing units at an average density of 54.1 per square mile (20.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 66.8% Black or African American, 31.3% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 0.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 350 households of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, 26.0% has a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.
As of the census of 2000, there were 820 people, 316 households, and 219 families residing in the town. The population density was 106.1 people per square mile (41.0/km2). There were 384 housing units at an average density of 49.7 per square mile (19.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 65.98% Black or African American, 32.32% White, 0.24% Native American, 0.24% from other races, and 1.22% from two or more races. 0.98% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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