How to Pick the Best Truck Driving School near Hodges Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Hodges AL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Hodges home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll obtain the right 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 pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Hodges AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver 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 short summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Hodges AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are some additional points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Hodges AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Hodges AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Hodges AL schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some 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.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Hodges AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of 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 giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Hodges AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering 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 indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Hodges 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 particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Hodges AL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Hodges AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Get My CDL Hodges Alabama
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an essential 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 forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available 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 Get My CDL and wanting information on the topic Truck School Cost. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Hodges AL.
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Albert E. Hodge (April 18, 1912 – March 19, 1979) was an American actor best known for playing space adventurer Captain Video on the DuMont Television Network from December 15, 1950, to April 1, 1955. He played the Green Hornet on radio from January 1936 until January 1943.
Hodge was born in Ravenna, Ohio. His parents operated a tailoring and dry-cleaning business. Hodge acted and took part in sports at Ravenna High School. Nicknamed "Abie", he was a track star, a drum major and manager of the band, sang bass in the boys glee club and was a cheerleader.
Hodge graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1934, majoring in drama. After touring as an actor with the Casford Players, he was hired by WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan. Besides originating the role of Britt Reid, the Green Hornet, Hodge wrote and delivered daily editorials, announced at football games, wrote advertising copy, worked as a disc jockey, and produced radio dramas and documentaries, including The Lone Ranger and Challenge of the Yukon. He served in the United States Navy during World War II, and was bedridden for a year with pleurisy.