How to Choose a Truck Driver School near Eutaw Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Eutaw AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Eutaw residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll receive the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional 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 discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Alabama and within the USA, 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. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Eutaw AL, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind 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 summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Eutaw AL trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are some additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Eutaw AL trucking schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Eutaw AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several 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 provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, 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 look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Eutaw AL schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the Eutaw 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 happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Eutaw AL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some Eutaw AL trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with a wide range of 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the Eutaw AL schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Eutaw AL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new profession in Eutaw AL. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement 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 employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed in Eutaw AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a trucker, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare some strategies about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Choose the Right Truck Driving School Eutaw AL
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. 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 trucker in Eutaw AL.
A Bit About Eutaw Alabama
Eutaw (/ˈjuːtɔː/ YEW-taw) is a city in and the county seat of Greene County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 2,934. The city was named in honor of the Battle of Eutaw Springs, the last engagement of the American Revolutionary War in the Carolinas.
Eutaw was laid out in December 1838 at the time that Greene County voters chose to relocate the county seat from Erie, which was located on the Black Warrior River. It was incorporated by an act of the state legislature on January 2, 1841.
As the county seat, it also developed as the trading center for the county, which developed an economy based on cultivation and processing of cotton, the chief commodity crop in the antebellum years. The crop was lucrative for major planters, who depended on the labor of enslaved African Americans, and they built a number of fine homes in the city.
Many have been preserved into the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Eutaw has twenty-seven antebellum structures on the National Register of Historic Places. Twenty-three of these are included in the Antebellum Homes in Eutaw multiple property submission. The Coleman-Banks House, Old Greene County Courthouse, First Presbyterian Church, and Kirkwood are listed individually. Additionally, the Greene County Courthouse Square District is a listed historic district in the heart of downtown. A nearby property, Everhope Plantation, is also listed in the register.
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