How to Find a CDL Training School near Pike Road Alabama
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Pike Road 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 a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Pike Road home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective 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 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?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the United States, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Pike Road AL, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short 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. 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 may also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Pike Road AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Pike Road AL truck driving schools are accredited because of the stringent 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. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Pike Road AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. 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 individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Pike Road AL schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques 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 an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the Pike Road AL school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs between 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. Contact the Pike Road AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from certain Pike Road AL trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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 have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the Pike Road AL schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Pike Road AL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new career in Pike Road AL. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask 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 hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask 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 must be completed in Pike Road AL.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask truck driving candidates is "What made you pick trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a trucking operator, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready some approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Select the Best CDL School Pike Road AL
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation 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 available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Pike Road AL.
A Bit About Pike Road Alabama
Pike Road, Alabama
Pike Road is a town in Montgomery County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population of the town was 310. The 2010 census indicated a population of 5,406. It is part of the Montgomery metropolitan area.
The current town council members are: Chris Dunn, Angie Bradsher, Betsy Atkins, Leroy Tolliver and Rob Steindorff. The Pike Road Town Council meets at 7:00 p.m. on the second Monday of each month as well as the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7:00 a.m. Meetings are held in the council chamber at Pike Road Town Hall (9575 Vaughn Road).
By the time of the 2010 census, there were 5,406 people residing in Pike Road with the town now having 1,933 households, and 1606 families. The town's population grew almost 20-fold since the 2000 census, making it one of the fastest growing incorporated places in Alabama with a population of over 5,000 in 2010. Population is 8,777 as of 2016.
The 2010 census population profile by race showed 68.5% White, 28.7% Black or African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.4% Asian American, and 1.3% Hispanic or Latino persons of any race living within the town limits. Roughly 0.8% of the population was of two or more races.
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