How to Enroll in the Best Trucking School near Hartford Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Hartford AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps 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 essential to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Hartford residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Just remember, your objective 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 decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Hartford AL, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are brief 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 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 Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Hartford AL trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Hartford AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated 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 be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Hartford AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly 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 relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Hartford AL schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher 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. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great 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 actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark 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 Hartford AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from some truck driver 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 having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Hartford AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient 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 higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Hartford AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing 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 must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out 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 Hartford AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Hartford AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Truck Driving School Requirements Hartford Alabama
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation 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 several options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving School Requirements and wanting information on the topic Class For CDL License. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to consider 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 truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company 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 our country move as a professional truck driver in Hartford AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
Hartford is a city in Geneva County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in 1896. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 2,624, up from 2,369 in 2000.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,369 people, 966 households, and 647 families residing in the city. The population density was 380.1 people per square mile (146.8/km²). There were 1,121 housing units at an average density of 179.9 per square mile (69.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.11% White, 19.63% Black or African American, 0.42% Native American, 0.30% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. 1.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 966 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.90.