How to Pick the Right Truck Driving School near Woodstock Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Woodstock AL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Woodstock residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Woodstock AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify 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 discuss Class A and 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). Following are brief summaries of the 2 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 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 drive 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. A few 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 may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Woodstock AL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Woodstock AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly 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 Woodstock AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Woodstock AL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish ample 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 operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark 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 Woodstock AL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with a wide range of 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 flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Woodstock AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. 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 accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Woodstock AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Woodstock AL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Woodstock AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Semi Driving School Woodstock Alabama
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Semi Driving School and wanting information on the topic CDL License School. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Woodstock AL.
Truck On in These Other Alabama Locations
Woodstock is a town in Bibb and Tuscaloosa counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. Formerly known as North Bibb, by referendum in August 2000, the town adopted the name of a long-established local unincorporated community and, as of October 1, 2000, is now known officially as "Woodstock". As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 1,428.
Bibb County, founded as Cahawba County in 1818, played an important role in the early industrial history of Alabama. Ironworks and foundries produced goods from the brown iron ore found on Roupes Creek. Woodstock, known as North Bibb until 2000, is a small town on the northern boundary of Bibb County. This community was once the center of a thriving railroad business.
Woodstock was first settled in the 1820s, with a formal land grant to William Houston on February 27, 1826. The settlement was established along the old Tuscaloosa to Huntsville stagecoach line. Woodstock got its name when Dr. J.U. Ray named it after the home of his ancestors, Woodstock, England. Ray's ancestors arrived in America from England at Jamestown, Virginia. In 1870, Ray built the first depot for the newly constructed Alabama-Chattanooga Railroad. After the Alabama Great Southern Railroad came the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Each operated a depot in the area. In 1872, a line was installed down to West Blocton to ship the large abundance of coal found in the area. Woodstock became a break and storage yard for coal, red and brown iron ore and cotton. After the Civil War, rich iron ore deposits were mined. In 1872, Giles Edwards relocated to Woodstock from Tannehill and built a blast furnace to manufacture pig iron.
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