How to Decide on a CDL Driving School near Glenwood Alabama
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Glenwood AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road 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 opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Glenwood home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive 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. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Glenwood AL, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries of 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 needed 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 operate specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Glenwood AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few more things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Glenwood AL truck driver schools are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated 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 Glenwood AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following 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 personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Glenwood AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the Glenwood AL school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Glenwood AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from certain Glenwood AL trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different 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 flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal 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.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the Glenwood AL schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Glenwood AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new profession in Glenwood AL. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed in Glenwood AL.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask truck driving candidates is "What made you pick trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. 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 answer them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Best Truck Driver School Glenwood AL
Selecting the right truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated 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 trucker in Glenwood AL.
A Bit About Glenwood Alabama
As of the census of 2000, there were 191 people, 92 households, and 58 families residing in the town. The population density was 262.8 people per square mile (101.0/km²). There were 118 housing units at an average density of 162.3 per square mile (62.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 69.11% White, 29.84% Black or African American, and 1.05% from two or more races. 0.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 92 households out of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.59.
In the town, the population was spread out with 18.3% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $28,750, and the median income for a family was $36,875. Males had a median income of $31,250 versus $21,250 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,074. About 7.4% of families and 13.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.2% of those under the age of eighteen and 25.0% of those sixty five or over.
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