How to Pick the Right Truck Driving Classes near Whatley Alabama
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Whatley AL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Whatley home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams 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 address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Whatley AL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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 brief summaries for 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 CDL is required 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. 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Whatley AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Whatley AL area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Whatley AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Whatley AL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license 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 a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Whatley AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer 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 benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly 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 get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Whatley 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 allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Whatley AL school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Whatley AL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Whatley 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 assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
School CDL Training Whatley Alabama
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical 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 obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Whatley AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
Benjamin Franklin is generally credited with the invention of bifocals. Historians have produced some evidence to suggest that others may have come before him in the invention; however, a correspondence between George Whatley and John Fenno, editor of the Gazette of the United States, suggested that Franklin had indeed invented bifocals, and perhaps 50 years earlier than had been originally thought. However the College of Optometrists concluded:
Original bifocals were designed with the most convex lenses (for close viewing) in the lower half of the frame and the least convex lenses on the upper. Up until the beginning of the 20th century two separate lenses were cut in half and combined together in the rim of the frame. The mounting of two half lenses into a single frame led to a number of early complications and rendered such spectacles quite fragile. A method for fusing the sections of the lenses together was developed by Louis de Wecker at the end of the 19th century and patented by Dr. John L. Borsch, Jr. in 1908. Today most bifocals are created by molding a reading segment into a primary lens and are available with the reading segments in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most popular is the D-segment, 28 mm wide. While the D-segment bifocal offers superior optics, an increasing number of people opt for progressive bifocal lenses.
Bifocals can cause headaches and even dizziness in some users. Acclimation to the small field of view offered by the reading segment of bifocals can take some time, as the user learns to move either the head or the reading material rather than the eyes. Computer monitors are generally placed directly in front of users and can lead to muscle fatigue due to the unusual straight and constant movement of the head. This trouble is mitigated by the use of trifocal lenses or by the use of monofocal lenses for computer users.