How to Pick the Right Truck Driving Classes near Lenox Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Lenox AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Lenox residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll receive the proper training. 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 objective 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 talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Lenox AL, an operator must 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. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class 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 brief descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Lenox AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. 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 if not more important. So below are a few additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Lenox AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum 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 driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Lenox AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention 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 professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Lenox AL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will furnish ample driving time to its students. After all, 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Lenox AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Lenox AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Lenox AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Lenox AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Lenox AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out 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 need to be completed.
Driving School CDL Lenox Alabama
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Driving School CDL and wanting information on the topic CDL Driving Schools Near Me. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into 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 enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Lenox AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
Lenox Avenue – also named Malcolm X Boulevard; both names are officially recognized – is the primary north–south route through Harlem in the upper portion of the New York City borough of Manhattan. This two-way street runs from Farmers' Gate at Central Park North (110th Street) to 147th Street. Its traffic is figuratively described as "Harlem's heartbeat" by Langston Hughes in his poem Juke Box Love Song. The IRT Lenox Avenue Line runs under the entire length of the street, serving the New York City Subway's 2 and 3 trains.
The avenue was the heart of Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s. The street brought together African Americans, Latinos, British West Indians, and Spaniards who developed relationships over common interests such as jazz and food. In 1932, Harlem was so firmly established as the world capital of jazz and African-American culture in general that "black cinema" films like Harlem Is Heaven were playing on the nation's big screens. Jazz flourished and grew like it could have in no other time and place. "You might have had 15 great clubs on one block, all going at once," said the trombonist and bandleader Wycliffe Gordon. "Imagine going into a joint to check out Willie 'The Lion' Smith, and sitting next to you are Duke Ellington and James P. Johnson." Lenox Avenue is thought by some to be one of the most important streets in the world for African American culture.
The Savoy Ballroom was located between 140th and 141st Streets on Lenox Avenue. Other historical venues of Lenox Avenue are Sylvia's Restaurant, located between 126th and 127th; and the Lenox Lounge, located between 124th and 125th.