How to Find the Best CDL Training School near Mckenzie Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Mckenzie AL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Mckenzie residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Mckenzie AL, an operator needs to attain 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 topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 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 drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Mckenzie AL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Mckenzie AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed 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 Mckenzie AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Mckenzie AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, 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. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Mckenzie AL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free 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 only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Mckenzie AL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Mckenzie AL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Mckenzie AL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Mckenzie AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
School CDL Training Mckenzie Alabama
Selecting the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in School CDL Training and wanting information on the topic Bus Driver Training. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to think about 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 choose an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Mckenzie AL.
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Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan (born September 12, 1978), is an American actor, writer and director. He portrayed Ryan Atwood in the television series The O.C. and Ben Sherman in Southland. He appeared in the films Junebug and 88 Minutes. His first starring role in a feature film was in the 2008 indie release Johnny Got His Gun. Since 2014, McKenzie has been starring as James Gordon in the television series Gotham, for which he also wrote and directed episodes.
Schenkkan was born in Austin, Texas. He is of Dutch-Jewish and Scottish descent. He is one of three boys born to Frances Victory Schenkkan, a poet, and Pieter Meade Schenkkan, an attorney. His middle name, McKenzie, is his paternal grandmother's maiden name. His grandfather, Robert F. Schenkkan, was a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and worked with President Lyndon B. Johnson on passing the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. He is a nephew of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan, Jr.
For middle school, he attended St. Andrew's Episcopal School, where he was friends and flag football teammates with future Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees. He attended Stephen F. Austin High School, playing wide receiver and defensive back for the school's football team. From 1997–2001, he attended the University of Virginia, his father and paternal grandfather's alma mater, where he majored in foreign affairs and economics. He uses his middle name as his stage name to avoid confusion with actor Ben Shenkman.