How to Enroll in the Best CDL Training Classes near Leesburg Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Leesburg AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge 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 opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Leesburg residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll get the appropriate education. 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 goal in mind, just how do you decide on 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 commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Leesburg AL, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving 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 as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 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 required 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. Several 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Leesburg AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Leesburg AL area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, 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 several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. 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 Leesburg AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk 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 receiving the personalized instruction 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 professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Leesburg AL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing 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 provide 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though 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. Get in touch with the Leesburg AL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Leesburg AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Leesburg AL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote 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 accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Verify 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, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Leesburg AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Leesburg 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 evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Semi Truck Driving School Leesburg Alabama
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession 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 available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Semi Truck Driving School and wanting information on the topic CDL Training Schools Near Me. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Leesburg AL.
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Leesburg was originally called Hamptonville; it was named for Joseph Hampton and the Henslee family respectively. A post office was established as Hamptonville in 1836, and in 1839 the name was changed to Leesburg.
Leesburg is located in western Cherokee County at 34°10'57.446" North, 85°46'8.350" West (34.182624, -85.768986). It is bordered by Lookout Mountain and the town of Sand Rock to the north and Weiss Lake on the Coosa River to the south. Weiss Dam, forming the lake, is located just south of the town limits.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,027 people, 409 households, and 298 families residing in the town. The population density was 160 people per square mile (61.8/km²). There were 663 housing units at an average density of 103.6 per square mile (39.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.5% White, 0.0% Native American, 0.0% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 1.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.