How to Select a Truck Driver School near Allgood Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Allgood AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Allgood home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the United States, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Allgood AL, we will highlight 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 for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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 CDL is required to operate 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. 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 require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Allgood AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Allgood AL truck driver schools are accredited due to the demanding 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 several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Allgood AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. 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 hurt to contact the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention 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 time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Allgood AL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit the Allgood AL school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied 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 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Allgood AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some Allgood AL trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific 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 maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the Allgood AL schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Allgood AL school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession in Allgood AL. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted in Allgood AL.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking job, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What made you pick trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare several strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting 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 talents you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Right Truck Driver School Allgood AL
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Allgood AL.
A Bit About Allgood Alabama
Allgood is located in south-central Blount County at 33°54′15″N 86°30′59″W / 33.90417°N 86.51639°W / 33.90417; -86.51639 (33.904216, -86.516428). It is in the Murphree Valley, with Straight Mountain to the southeast and Red Mountain and Sand Mountain to the northwest. Alabama State Route 75 passes through the town, leading northeast 3 miles (5 km) to Oneonta, the county seat, and southwest 38 miles (61 km) to Birmingham.
As of the census of 2000, there were 629 people, 189 households, and 140 families residing in the town. The population density was 606.6 people per square mile (233.5/km²). There were 198 housing units at an average density of 190.9 per square mile (73.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 83.94% White, 0.32% Black or African American, 0.48% Native American, 12.08% from other races, and 3.18% from two or more races. 43.40% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 189 households out of which 40.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.4% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.9% were non-families. 18.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.33 and the average family size was 3.80.
In the town, the population dispersal was 30.7% under the age of 18, 14.8% from 18 to 24, 34.3% from 25 to 44, 15.4% from 45 to 64, and 4.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 109.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 116.9 males. The median income for a household in the town was $29,583, and the median income for a family was $30,750. Males had a median income of $31,058 versus $25,486 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,729. About 23.4% of families and 27.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.9% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.
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