How to Select the Right Truck Driving Classes near Heflin Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Heflin AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to think about before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Heflin home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That 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 commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Heflin AL, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 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. A few of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive 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 may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Heflin AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Heflin AL area are accredited because of the stringent 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 several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Heflin AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships 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 authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized 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 professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Heflin AL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary 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. Contact the Heflin AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Heflin AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Heflin AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received 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 contemplating 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 referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Heflin AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Heflin AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
How To Get Class B CDL Heflin Alabama
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of 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 How To Get Class B CDL and wanting information on the topic How To Get A Truck License. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Heflin AL.
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Heflin is a city in Cleburne County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 3,480. The city is the county seat of Cleburne County. It is located approximately halfway between Birmingham and Atlanta on Interstate 20.
Heflin was first settled in 1882 as a station on the railroad line from Atlanta. The town quickly grew and was incorporated in 1886. Until 1905, the County Seat of Cleburne County had been located at Edwardsville. In 1905, an election was held to move the county seat from Edwardsville to Heflin. The election results favored Heflin and were appealed to and upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court on July 1, 1906.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,480 people, 1,384 households, and 925 families residing in the city. The population density was 216.9 people per square mile (83.7/km²). There were 1,531 housing units at an average density of 93.9 per square mile (36.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.3% White, 9.4% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 1.0% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. 2.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.