How to Choose the Right Trucking School near Logan Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Logan AL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Logan home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal 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 purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder 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 Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Logan AL, an operator needs to obtain 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 select a truck driving 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 together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 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. Some 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Logan AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Logan AL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Logan AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Logan AL schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide ample 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Logan AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking 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 numerous 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 be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Logan AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed 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 contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Logan AL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates 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 Logan AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Logan AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
How To Get A Class A Drivers License Logan Alabama
Choosing the right trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn 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 How To Get A Class A Drivers License and wanting information on the topic How To Choose A Truck Driving School. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Logan AL.
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Logan was born in Durban, South Africa, and attended high school at Durban Girls' College. She graduated from the University of Natal in Durban in 1992 with a degree in commerce. She went on to earn a diploma in French language, culture and history at Alliance Française in Paris.
Logan worked as a news reporter for the Sunday Tribune in Durban during her studies (1988–1989), then for the city's Daily News (1990–1992). In 1992 she joined Reuters Television in Africa, primarily as a senior producer. After four years she branched out into freelance journalism, obtaining assignments as a reporter and editor/producer with ITN and Fox/SKY, CBS News, ABC News (in London), NBC, and the European Broadcast Union. She also found work with CNN, reporting on incidents such as the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Nairobi and Tanzania, the conflict in Northern Ireland, and the Kosovo war.
Logan was hired in 2000 by GMTV Breakfast Television (in the UK) as a correspondent; she also worked with CBS News Radio as a freelance correspondent. Days after the September 11 attacks, she asked a clerk at the Russian Embassy in London to give her a visa to travel to Afghanistan. In November 2001, while in Afghanistan working for GMTV, she infiltrated the American-British-backed Northern Alliance and interviewed their commander, General Babajan, at the Bagram Air Base.