|TRUCK DRIVING SCHOOLS||CDL TRAINING||CDL CLASSES||CDL SCHOOLS|
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How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Enterprise AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can't be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Enterprise AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Enterprise AL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. 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 supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to check with the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following segment. 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 individual attention 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Enterprise AL schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it's imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although 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 important that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors 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 quality of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide sufficient 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, 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. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Enterprise AL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Enterprise AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it's important that the Enterprise AL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you're having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you're still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Enterprise AL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Enterprise AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.