Local CDL Training Somerville AL

How to Choose the Best CDL Driving School near Somerville Alabama

tractor truck in Somerville AL Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Somerville AL. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Somerville residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?

Somerville AL long haul tractor trailerTo operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Somerville AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions of the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 needed 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.

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How to Assess a Trucking School

Somerville AL truck driving schoolAfter you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Somerville AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Somerville AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Somerville AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.

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 discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Somerville AL schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. 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 instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent 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. While 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 gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Somerville AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driving 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 provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous 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 giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Somerville AL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Somerville 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 certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired 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 considering have job placement 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 referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Somerville AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Somerville AL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.

Local CDL Training Somerville Alabama

Somerville AL long haul truckSelecting the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in Local CDL Training and wanting information on the topic Driving Truck School.  But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker 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 no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Somerville AL.

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    Somerville, Alabama

    Somerville is a town in Morgan County, Alabama, United States. It is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, as well as the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 724, up from 347.

    Somerville was the county seat of Morgan County from 1818 to 1891, when the seat was moved to Decatur. The town was named for Robert M. Summerville, an officer killed in 1814 during the Creek Indian War. Initially incorporated on December 3, 1819,[2][1] it is a few days older than the state. After its loss of the county seat in the 1890s, its incorporation lapsed. It was reorganized (reincorporated) on December 1, 1955.[5]

    As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 347 people, 148 households, and 97 families residing in the town. The population density was 339.9 people per square mile (131.4/km²). There were 160 housing units at an average density of 156.7 per square mile (60.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.35% White, 5.76% Black or African American, 1.73% Native American, 0.29% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. 0.58% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

     

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