How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Hayneville Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Hayneville AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Hayneville home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective 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 review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the USA, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Hayneville AL, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are brief descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 drive specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Hayneville AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are several additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Hayneville AL truck driving schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Hayneville 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 graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. 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 compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Hayneville AL schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the Hayneville AL school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide sufficient 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. Even though 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 gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Hayneville AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain Hayneville AL trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular 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 a wide range of 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the Hayneville AL schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Hayneville AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession in Hayneville AL. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed in Hayneville AL.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Truck Driver?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask truck driving prospects is "What drove you to choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a trucker, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Because there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School Hayneville AL
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money 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 enroll in 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 choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Hayneville AL.
A Bit About Hayneville Alabama
Hayneville is a town in Lowndes County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 932, down from its record high of 1,177 in 2000. The city is the county seat of Lowndes County. It is also part of the Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area. It initially incorporated in 1831, but lapsed, finally reincorporating in 1967. Before 1970, the town appeared only twice on the U.S. Census: in 1850 and 1890. The 1850 estimate of 800 residents ranked it as the largest town in the county at the time.
Located in the fertile Black Belt region, Hayneville was the county seat in a slave society based on cotton production. The town was later a railway terminus and home to the Hayneville Railway Company, which was organized in 1903. Two years later, the company was reorganized as the Hayneville & Montgomery Railroad Company and provided connections for shipping with the L&N Railroad Company's tracks.
During the early part of the 20th century, the boll weevil invaded the South, destroying cotton crops across the most productive counties. At the same time, In the latter half of the 20th century, the agricultural focus shifted to more diverse crops and livestock. Hayneville, like the rest of the Black Belt, has struggled to shift to a more productive economy.
Hayneville was founded in 1820 by settlers from the Edgefield, Abbeville, and Colleton districts of South Carolina on property purchased from the U.S. Land Office at Cahawba. Throughout the 1820s, Hayneville was known as "Big Swamp". The indigenous Muscogee Creek people had been forced to cede their lands under various treaties with the United States, and most of them were removed to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River.
More Cities of Interest in Alabama