How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Warrior Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Warrior AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Warrior residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll receive the right education. 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 goal 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 talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally in Alabama and within the USA, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Warrior AL, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Warrior AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Warrior AL truck driving schools are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Warrior AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next 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 getting the individual attention 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Warrior AL schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the Warrior AL school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide plenty of 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark 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 Warrior AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some Warrior AL truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the Warrior AL schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Warrior AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession in Warrior AL. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing 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 employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver 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 reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed in Warrior AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Trucker?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask truck driving prospects is "What made you decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucker, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Right CDL School Warrior AL
Selecting the right trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession 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 available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Warrior AL.
A Bit About Warrior Alabama
Warrior is in the Central time zone. The elevation at the center of town is 564 feet (172 m), though it ranges from over 620 feet (190 m) north of the center to less than 300 feet (91 m) along the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River, which forms the southern boundary of the city.
Warrior uses the mayor/council form of government. The city council consists of the mayor and five members. The city is divided into five geographic districts with each one electing a council member to represent it.
After having served as Warrior's longest-serving mayor and the only woman to hold the position, Rena Hudson, who became Warrior's first female mayor in 1984, recently retired to spend more time with her husband of 57 years, Bill Hudson, a retired home builder. She died on March 15, 2017 and had served as the Mayor of Warrior from 1984 to 2000 and again from 2004 to 2012.
Rickwood Caverns State Park is located 7 miles (11 km) north of Warrior near Interstate 65 and the community of Smoke Rise. Featuring limestone formations, blind cave fish, and an underground pool, Rickwood Caverns is a recognized member of the National Caves Association, and offers more than a mile of living geology.
More Cities of Interest in Alabama