How to Pick the Best Trucking Classes near Holly Pond Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Holly Pond AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Holly Pond home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. 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 objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Holly Pond AL, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address Class A and 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 descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 CDL 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 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Holly Pond AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Holly Pond AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Holly Pond AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several 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 provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Holly Pond AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish sufficient 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Holly Pond AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally 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 get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Holly Pond AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Holly Pond AL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Holly Pond AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Holly Pond AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Professional Truck Driving School Holly Pond Alabama
Picking the right truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Professional Truck Driving School and wanting information on the topic How To Be A Trucker. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash 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 truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Holly Pond AL.
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Holly Pond, Alabama
Holly Pond has a number of businesses that operate out of the small town. The regional petroleum and gas corporation Jet-Pep was started and is now headquartered in Holly Pond. Jet-Pep has gas stations statewide.
Holly Pond High School is the town's main high school for grades 9-12. As of 2018, enrollment is 338 students and the principal is Kim Butler. Holly Pond competes in AHSAA Class 3A athletics. The school's mascot is a Bronco.
As of the census of 2000, there were 645 people, 250 households, and 182 families residing in the town. The population density was 187.3 people per square mile (72.4/km²). There were 280 housing units at an average density of 81.3 per square mile (31.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.67% White, 0.47% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 1.40% from other races, and 0.31% from two or more races. 3.41% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.