How to Choose the Right CDL Driving School near Lester Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Lester AL. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to think about before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Lester residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your objective 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 goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Lester AL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 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 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 require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Lester AL truck driver schools that you are considering. 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 sole considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are a few additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Lester AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent 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 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 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 indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Lester AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Lester AL schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. After all, 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 important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Lester AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement 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 provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Lester AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third 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 reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Lester AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Lester AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Lester AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Professional Driver Training Lester Alabama
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance 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 available 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 Driver Training and wanting information on the topic Trucking Schools Near Me. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Lester AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
Jonathan Tyler Lester (born January 7, 1984) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played in MLB for the Boston Red Sox from 2006 to 2014 and the Oakland Athletics in 2014. Less than two years after being diagnosed with lymphoma, Lester started and won the final game of the 2007 World Series for the Red Sox, and in May 2008, pitched a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals. He helped lead the Red Sox to another championship in 2013, and he won the 2016 World Series with the Cubs.
Lester attended Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma, Washington. Playing for the school's baseball team, Lester was a three-time MVP and three-time All-Area selection. In addition, he was named Gatorade State Player of the Year for Washington in 2000.
The Red Sox selected Lester in the second round, with the 57th overall selection, of the 2002 Major League Baseball draft and gave him the highest signing bonus of any second-rounder that year, $1 million.
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