How to Select a CDL Driving School near Sulligent Alabama
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Sulligent AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Sulligent residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal means to ensure you’ll receive the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in Alabama and within the USA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Sulligent AL, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 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. Several 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 need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Sulligent AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Sulligent AL truck driver schools are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Sulligent AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. 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 Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Sulligent AL schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to check out the Sulligent AL school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish 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 important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Sulligent AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from certain Sulligent AL truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations 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 giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the Sulligent AL schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Sulligent AL school you choose provides 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 instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career in Sulligent AL. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed in Sulligent AL.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What made you pick trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a trucker, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Truck Driver School Sulligent AL
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive 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 obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Sulligent AL.
A Bit About Sulligent Alabama
Sulligent is a city in Lamar County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 1,927, down from its record high of 2,151 in 2000. From 1910-1950 and again in 2000, it was the largest community in Lamar County before losing the distinction both times to the county seat of Vernon. The name is derived from railroad personnel.
Sulligent was first called "Elliott", in honor of the chief engineer of the Kansas City-Memphis-Birmingham Railroad, then renamed one month later with the portmanteau “Sulligent”, in honor of Sullivan, the superintendent of the railroad, and Sargeant, the passenger agent of the railroad.
The production and processing of cotton was an important industry. The primary business in Sulligent in the mid-1890s was cotton, with over 2500 bales ginned each year and shipped via the railroad. At one time, Sulligent Cotton Oil Company was known as the largest cotton gin under one roof.
Sulligent is the birthplace of two former Auburn University All-SEC performers: defensive back James Mckinney and cousin running back Joe Cribbs. McKinney, a two-time All-SEC first-team safety, led the SEC in interceptions twice and became Auburn's first African American football player to be named first-team All-SEC. Cribbs, also a two-time All-SEC performer, was a first-team All-American and was voted SEC Player of the Year, NFL running back All-Pro and NFL Rookie of the Year. Sulligent was also home to former University of Alabama All-SEC and All-American safety, Arizona Cardinals' Rashad Johnson. Sulligent is also the home of current University of North Alabama safety, Caleb Massey, former Major League Baseball player Bubba Harris, former Negro League baseball player Sam Bankhead and Hollis Bankhead (1842–1920), Confederate war hero, Congressman, and statesman.
More Cities of Interest in Alabama