How to Find the Right Trucking School near Stockton Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Stockton AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Stockton residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll receive the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge 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 pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance 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 Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Stockton AL, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 pick a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. 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 needed to operate 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. Some 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 operate certain types of vehicles, including 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 drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Stockton AL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Stockton AL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent 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. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Stockton AL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss 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 personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Stockton AL schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish lots 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 necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Stockton AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified 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 maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Stockton AL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Stockton AL school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Stockton AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Stockton AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
CDL Truck Driver Training Stockton Alabama
Choosing the right trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local 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 crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Truck Driver Training and wanting information on the topic CDL Training Near Me. However, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need 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 trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm 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 soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Stockton AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
The community is most likely named for Francis Stockton, who was appointed in 1809 to select a site for the first Baldwin County courthouse. The Stockton post office first began operations in 1837. The U. S. Mail service delivered mail from Montgomery, Alabama by stage coach twice a week to Stockton. In 1855 the United States government started a mail service between Mobile, Stockton and Claiborne, Alabama. Steamers were awarded contracts for carrying the mail, each leaving Mobile twice a week, touching at Stockton, which was connected to Montgomery by the stage line.