How to Find a CDL Driving School near Moulton Alabama
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Moulton AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Moulton home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the USA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Moulton AL, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 Commercial Drivers License 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 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Moulton AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Moulton AL trucking schools are accredited due to the demanding process and cost 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. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving 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. However, even the top Moulton AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially 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 frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Moulton AL schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor 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. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit the Moulton AL school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish ample 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 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 standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Moulton AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of Moulton AL trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the Moulton AL schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Moulton AL school you select offers 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 devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession in Moulton AL. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? 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 offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted in Moulton AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask truck driving prospects is "What drove you to pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucker, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you must ready a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School Moulton AL
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might need 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 firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Moulton AL.
A Bit About Moulton Alabama
Moulton is a city in Lawrence County, Alabama, United States and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, as well as the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. Although it incorporated in 1819, along with its rival of Courtland, to compete for the honor of county seat, it did not first appear on the U.S. Census rolls until 1900. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 3,471, its record high. The city has been the county seat of Lawrence County since 1820. It has been the largest community in the county since the 1920 U.S. Census.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,471 people, 1,482 households, and 912 families residing in the city. The population density was 552.1 people per square mile (213.3/km²). There were 1,486 housing units at an average density of 251.7 per square mile (97.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.2% White, 13.1% Black or African American, 4.1% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. 1.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,482 households out of which 25.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.7% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.5% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the city, the population was spread out with 20.7% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 21.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 81.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.2 males.
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