How to Pick a Truck Driver School near New Market Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near New Market AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your New Market home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the USA, an operator needs to obtain 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 pick a truck driver school near New Market AL, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions 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 more 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 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. 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 need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the New Market AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many New Market 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 required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top New Market AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to verify 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 discuss more about the instructors in the next 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 receiving the personalized attention 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 be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of New Market AL schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the New Market AL school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through 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 great truck driving 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 operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the New Market AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of New Market AL truck driving 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 offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the New Market AL schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the New Market AL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote 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 Placement Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession in New Market AL. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed in New Market AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask truck driving applicants is "What compelled you to decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a truck driver, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Choose the Best Truck Driver School New Market AL
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in New Market AL.
A Bit About New Market Alabama
New Market, Alabama
New Market is a census-designated place (CDP) in Madison County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the CDP is 1,597. Although it was the first area settled in Madison County, the town has never been incorporated.
In the early 19th century, several persons from Tennessee explored the area just across the border in what eventually became Madison County in Alabama. Isaac and Joseph Criner also explored the area and, in 1804, settled in the northern part near what is now called Mountain Fork of the Flint River. The original town site was owned by George Smith, who also was proprietor of the first mercantile which opened in 1819. Later settlers gave the name New Market to the community.
Four sites in New Market are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the New Market Historic District, New Market Presbyterian Church, New Market United Methodist Church, and the Whitman-Cobb House.
New Market first appeared on the 1880 U.S. Census as an unincorporated community of 144 residents. It did not appear again on the census for 110 years until 1990, when it was classified as a census-designated place (CDP).
More Cities of Interest in Alabama