How to Choose a Trucking School near Coffeeville Alabama
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Coffeeville AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Coffeeville home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on 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 review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in Alabama and within the USA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Coffeeville AL, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Coffeeville AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, 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 carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Coffeeville AL truck driver schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated 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 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 Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving 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 Coffeeville AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Coffeeville AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the Coffeeville AL school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to some 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators 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 varies between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Coffeeville AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some Coffeeville AL truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with a wide range of 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 have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the Coffeeville AL schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Coffeeville AL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. 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? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new career in Coffeeville AL. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed in Coffeeville AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Trucker?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a trucking operator, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize some approaches about how you would like to answer them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Ideal Trucking School Coffeeville AL
Picking the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession 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 several options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Coffeeville AL.
A Bit About Coffeeville Alabama
As of the census of 2000, there were 360 people, 165 households, and 97 families residing in the town. The population density was 79.7 people per square mile (30.8/km2). There were 209 housing units at an average density of 46.3 per square mile (17.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 61.11% White and 38.89% Black or African American.
There were 165 households out of which 22.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.2% were non-families. 40.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the town, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 23.1% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $19,545, and the median income for a family was $33,125. Males had a median income of $29,000 versus $17,500 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,886. About 18.8% of families and 25.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.2% of those under age 18 and 19.7% of those age 65 or over.
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