How to Choose a CDL Training School near Valley Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Valley AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Valley residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow 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? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the USA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 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 choose a truck driving school near Valley AL, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are brief descriptions 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 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 needed 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. A few 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 require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Valley AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Valley AL trucking schools are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested 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 actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Valley AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should 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 not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Valley AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the Valley AL school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide sufficient 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 operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a good 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 Valley AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some Valley AL trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the Valley 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 competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Valley AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession in Valley AL. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted in Valley AL.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Truck Driver?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a trucker, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should ready a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Best Truck Driver School Valley AL
Selecting the right truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills 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 receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases 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 choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Valley AL.
A Bit About Valley Alabama
Al Baqa or Al Baqa'a, also spelled Al-Beqa or Al baqr, (meaning "The open valley") is a Palestinian village located just east of Hebron. It is occupied by Israel since 1967, together with the rest of the West Bank. It is sandwiched between the Israeli settlements Givat Harsina and Kiryat Arba. Wadi al-Ghrous or Wadi al Gruz is a locality of Hebron that borders Al Baqa on the west.
A Bedouin village with the name Al Baqa'a also exists some 11 kilometers southeast from Ramallah.
Al Baqa is located in the heart of the Baqa'a Valley, a few kilometers east of Hebron City. It is sandwiched between the Israeli settlements Givat Harsina and Kiryat Arba. About half a kilometer west of the village lies the small locality Wadi al-Ghrous, separated by the bypass road 3507, which cuts across the village and connects the two settlements. Also a military outpost is located in between, adjacent to Road 3507. To the north, Al Baqa borders Al Bowereh, separated by Givat Harsina. East of the village lie Sa'ir and Bani Na'im, separated by the Israeli bypass road Highway 60. Al Baqa is a rural area.
According to the 2007 Census, the total population of Al Baqa in 2007 was about 1,200. In 2011, the PCBS estimated the population at 1,369 people. The populations of Al Baqa are mainly comprised from six families which are: Jaber family, Sultan family, Qamery family, Talhamey family, Al Natsha family and Da'na family. Wadi al-Ghrous had some 65 families in 2005.
More Cities of Interest in Alabama