How to Choose the Right CDL Driving Classes near Epes Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Epes AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain 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 examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Epes home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Epes AL, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss 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). Following are brief explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Epes AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are several additional factors that you need to 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 truck driving schools in the Epes AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Epes 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 employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following 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 obtaining the individual 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 insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Epes AL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, 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 prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving 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 important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Epes AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships 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 giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Epes AL schools you are looking at 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 driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide 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 also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Epes AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Epes AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Epes AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Certified CDL Trucker Schools Epes Alabama
Picking the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Certified CDL Trucker Schools and wanting information on the topic Area Truck Driving School. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want 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 choose an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Epes AL.
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Epes is located near Jones Bluff, overlooking the Tombigbee River. It is located at 32°41′26″N 88°7′27″W / 32.69056°N 88.12417°W / 32.69056; -88.12417 (32.690497, -88.124182). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), all land.
Epes has its origins in Fort de Tombecbé (Fort Tombecbe), one of the major fortifications built under Louis XIV of France, in what is now the American south, in the early eighteenth century. In January 1736, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, governor of Louisiana, recruited a Swiss officer serving with the French, Joseph Christophe de Lusser, to construct a fort on the Tombigbee River, "atop an 80-foot bluff to support his campaign against the Chickasaws" that was to proceed in the year following; Bienville visited the site in April of the same year, and took control of the construction, leading to its completion and its support of his martial efforts against the Native Americans. After a 26-year stay, during which the French used this and other holdings to check "westward expansion by the British into the French colony of Louisiana," and to serve "as a trading post, solidifying France's relations with the Choctaws... the most powerful French ally in the area," the French ceded the fort, with most of its North American territory, to Great Britain under the Treaty of Paris, surrendering Tombecbé in November 1763; the British inspected and renamed it Fort York, although its actual inhabitation would await a recurrence of hostilities between the Choctaw and Creek Indians in 1766. Records of those overseeing the fort in this period document the challenge of supplying such a remote location, and after a 1768 truce ended the hostilities between the Choctaw and Creeks, the British abandoned Fort York, with Choctaws being the remaining inhabitants of the area until this tribe ceded a small parcel of land that included the fort to the Spanish in 1792/1793, under the Treaty of Boucfouca. As little of the original fortification structures remained when Spain arrived to take control in 1794, the Spanish chose to construct "a smaller but more substantial earthen structure" (rather building further wooden fortifications); they renamed the site and their resulting structure Fort Confederacion, in recognition of the alliance the Spanish had struck with Native American groups to assist them in resisting encroachment by commerce and settlements from the United States. Fortifications were completed before the beginning of 1796, in time to provide support to the Spanish when war broke out with the United States, and when hostilities began again between the Chickasaw and Creek Indians; the Treaty of San Lorenzo, between Spain and the young U.S., ended that part of the hostilities, and ceded Spanish territory "above the 31st parallel," including the Fort, to the U.S, "thus marking the end of the European colonial era in Alabama."
Epes was incorporated in 1899 and named for Dr. John W. Epes, who donated the right-of-way for Southern Railroad (if the town would be named Epes). The town is located on the high bluffs of the Tombigbee River. Standing on the bluffs, you could hear the ferries and steamboats traveling down river. During its prime, it was known as the transportation and business and service center. It had three cotton gins, a cotton compress, cotton seed oil mill, creamery, handle company, The Casey Hotel, The Bowers Boarding House, a school, two grocery stores, a drug store, general merchandising stores, and two livery stables. The second stockyard in Alabama opened in Epes in 1936.