How to Pick the Right CDL Training School near Lincoln Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Lincoln AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Lincoln residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss 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?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Lincoln AL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and 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). Below are short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Lincoln AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Lincoln AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Lincoln AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, 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. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding 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 relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Lincoln AL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers 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.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide plenty of 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 important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Lincoln AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Lincoln 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 permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Lincoln AL school you choose offers 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 instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. 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 Offered? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Lincoln AL employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Lincoln AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Class A Truck Driving School Lincoln Alabama
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class A Truck Driving School and wanting information on the topic CDL Training Schools. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to consider 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 truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Lincoln AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
Lincoln is a city in Talladega County, Alabama, United States. It was incorporated in 1911. At the 2010 census the population was 6,266. It was named for Major General Benjamin Lincoln, who served in the American army during the Revolutionary War.
Lincoln is located at 33°35′35″N 86°8′20″W / 33.59306°N 86.13889°W / 33.59306; -86.13889 (33.593156, -86.138879). It is home to Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, employing over 4,000 people. Talladega Superspeedway race track is located near the city.
Lincoln has three public schools in the Talladega County Board of Education, Lincoln Elementary School, Charles R. Drew Middle School, and Lincoln High School, Home of The Golden Bears. The first graduate of Lincoln High School was the famous Cities Service Company CEO Burl S. Watson, who graduated from LHS in 1912.
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