How to Select the Right CDL Driving Classes near Lanett Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Lanett AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Lanett residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective 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 goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover 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 Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Lanett AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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. Several 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 operate specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Lanett AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Lanett AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Lanett AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Lanett AL schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will furnish ample 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary between 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. Check with the Lanett AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Lanett AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Lanett 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 certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. 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 Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Lanett AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Lanett 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 evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Weekend Truck Driving School Lanett Alabama
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets 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 crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Weekend Truck Driving School and wanting information on the topic CDL Truck Driving Schools. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to look into 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 driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Lanett AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
Lanett is a city in Chambers County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,468, down from 7,897 in 2000. Lanett, originally called Bluffton, is located in eastern Alabama, on the Chattahoochee River, southwest of Atlanta. The city's name is derived from Lafayette Lanier and Theodore Bennett, founders of the West Point Manufacturing Company.
Lanett is located on the eastern edge of Chambers County at 32°51'48.326" North, 85°11'58.862" West (32.863424, -85.199684). Its eastern boundary is the Alabama–Georgia state line, with the town of West Point, Georgia, bordering Lanett to the east. Interstate 85 forms the southeast boundary of Lanett, with the city of Valley, Alabama, on the other side of the highway. The unincorporated community of Huguley is along Lanett's southwest border.
The Chattahoochee River forms the state line and eastern boundary of Lanett from I-85 north to the downtown area, at which point the state line turns north-northwest and becomes a land boundary between Lanett and West Point, Georgia.
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