How to Enroll in the Right CDL Driving School near Hazel Green Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Hazel Green AL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Hazel Green residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Hazel Green AL, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations for the two 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 drive 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 require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Hazel Green AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Hazel Green AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, 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 know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine 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 be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Hazel Green AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Hazel Green AL schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute 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 fluctuates between schools, a reasonable 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 Hazel Green AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific 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 relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Hazel Green AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Hazel Green AL school you choose 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 instructor 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 needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Hazel Green AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Hazel Green 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 least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
CDL Training Programs Hazel Green Alabama
Choosing the right truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Training Programs and wanting information on the topic Training For CDL. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Hazel Green AL.
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Hazel Green, Alabama
Hazel Green is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Madison County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the community was 3,630. The 2010 estimated population for the Hazel Green zip code 35750 was 12,783.
The town was named Hazel Green because of the hazel bushes along the road were of a vibrant green. In the early 19th century, several farmers from Georgia and the Carolinas settled in Hazel Green after discovering that the area had some of the richest soil in the Southeast. A post office was built in 1819 on the southeast corner of the intersection now known as Hwy. 231-431 & Joe Quick Road. Several grocers and rest stops were also built along this intersection. It became a bustling community and incorporated into a town on June 15, 1821 by an act of the state legislature with a population of approximately 400. At the time, Hazel Green was a small, rural community that served as a crossroads. Roads connected Hazel Green with Athens to the west, Winchester, TN to the east, Huntsville to the south, and Nashville to the north. These roads intersected at what is now known as the intersection of US Highway 231/431, Joe Quick Road, and West Limestone Road. The town eventually became unincorporated and despite recent growth, remains unincorporated to this day.
After several months of rumors and speculation, Walmart began construction of a Supercenter on the southwest corner of US Highway 231/431 and Charity Lane in June 2014. This brought attention to several local residents and media outlets, as Walmart typically does not build supercenters in unincorporated areas. After completion in March 2015, the store attracted several other businesses in the same vicinity, including multiple fast food restaurants and shopping centers. As of December 2016, Zaxby's, Burger King, Arby's, Papa Murphy's Pizza, Taco Bell, AT&T, Great Clips, Dollar Tree, Hibbett Sports, Verizon, and Pet Depot make up the list of new businesses in the area. Hazel Green is slated for continued residential and commercial growth in the upcoming years.
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