How to Select the Best Trucker School near Kimberly Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Kimberly AL. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Kimberly home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to learn 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? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Kimberly AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class 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 summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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. 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Kimberly AL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Kimberly AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Kimberly AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Kimberly AL schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will provide lots 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Kimberly AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver 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 instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Kimberly 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 students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Kimberly AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Kimberly AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Kimberly 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 a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
How To Get CDL Class B License Kimberly Alabama
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of 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 How To Get CDL Class B License and wanting information on the topic Commercial Truck Driving Schools. However, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company 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 in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Kimberly AL.
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The city of Kimberly developed around a stagecoach station built in the 1830s; it remained in service until 1865. At this time, the settlement was known as Kennelsville. The city then became known as Jefferson, probably after the nearby Old Jefferson coal mine, until the late 1880s. In 1888, the town's post office was relocated to nearby Morris. In 1905, the town voted to change its name to Kimberly because another Alabama town had already claimed the name Jefferson. The town had a population of around 900 by 1910. Local coal mines were primary employers in Kimberly and were active through the 1940s, gradually closing down during the 1950s. Another significant employer in Kimberly was the Dixie Firebrick Company, founded in the 1930s; it was later bought out by A.P. Green Refractories Company. This facility shut down sometime in the mid-1970s. The city officially incorporated in 1952. Many city records and history were lost in a fire at the city hall in 1989. Beginning June 29, 2011, due to the population increasing from 1,801 persons in 2000 to 2,711 in 2010, the town began operating as a city, per Alabama law.
Kimberly is located at 33°46′16″N 86°47′43″W / 33.77111°N 86.79528°W / 33.77111; -86.79528 (33.771163, -86.795280). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.0 square miles (10 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,801 people, 652 households, and 528 families residing in the town. The population density was 447.8 people per square mile (173.0/km²). There were 699 housing units at an average density of 173.8 per square mile (67.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.78% White, 1.61% Black or African American, 0.61% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.44% from other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. 1.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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