Truck Driving Schools in Alabama
There are three schools in Alabama that provide truck driving education, including two community colleges and one technical college. The average cost of tuition is $4,110. However, this may be less for students that qualify for federal grants. You may also qualify for scholarships; the average scholarship award in Alabama is $2,749. Of course, you can also apply for student loans. The average loan amount offered to Alabama truck driving students is $3,591.
All of the truck driving programs provided in Alabama are eight weeks long, and constitute 320 hours of study. These programs base their classes and study requirements on the DMV recommendations for truck driving training. Students who complete these courses will be ready to earn a CDL Class A license, which allows you to apply for any truck driving jobs in the state.
These programs are fairly intensive, as they require you to complete 15 credit hours—which usually take a full 15 week semester to finish—in just eight weeks. You will receive education in classes like Vehicle Maintenance, Safe Operating Practices, and Proficiency Development. Since these programs are only eight weeks, there are more chances to take them during the year. Bishop State Community College, for example, offers four start dates for the truck driving course.
To work as a truck driver in Alabama, you must have a commercial driver's license (CDL). To earn your CDL, you have to get your doctor to fill out a medical examiner's certification. This form is available at the DMV website. After that, you can take a knowledge test, which has a $25 fee. You also have to take a skills test, for which you pay a $20 fee. A license fee is required; you have to pay $53.50 for Class A, $43.50 for Class B, and $23.50 for Class C. After earning your CDL, you can pursue a truck driving job.
The job outlook for truck drivers is great. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the job outlook for 2010-2020 is growing faster than average. They expect there to be over 330,000 new truck driver jobs in the United States by 2020 (BLS, 2010).
In Alabama, there is a growing demand for truck drivers. O*Net predicts that there will be 1,340 new truck driver jobs in the state every year between 2010 and 2020. This reflects a 20% increase in job openings over the decade.
Truck drivers in Alabama can earn a wide range of salaries. In Alabama, O*Net reports that the median salary for a truck driver is $35,000. The range of salaries goes from roughly $22,000 per year to $57,600 per year (O*Net, 2012). Truck drivers that have a higher class license, that are willing to work over the road for longer periods of time, or that have lots of experience may be able to earn a higher salary.
There are many truck driving companies in Alabama, and many of them are experiencing staff shortages. Some even help you earn your CDL. Many truck driving companies are based in large cities, like Montgomery and Mobile. Some of the largest truck driving employers in Alabama include C.R. England in Montgomery, Schneider National in Tuscaloosa, and Premier Transportation in Huntsville.
Before testing for a Class A, Class B, or Class C license, you may want to look at what employers are looking for. With a truck driving education, you may be able to test for the highest level of trucking license. This can help you apply for more jobs and earn more money.
After you earn your license, you can get help with finding a truck driving job by joining the Alabama Trucking Association. You can also stay up-to-date with legislation that affects Alabama truck drivers and enjoy other benefits of membership.
Truck drivers based out of Alabama can enjoy the many benefits of living there. Sperling's Best Places lists Alabama's cost of living as slightly below the national average, particularly in housing costs. With an average household income of $42,394, many residents find it easy to live a good life in Alabama (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). New grants of more than $800,000 in Alabama are boosting the economy and providing new jobs for residents.
There are more than 4.8 million people that live in Alabama, per the U.S. Census Bureau. People are spread out amongst small rural communities, with large clusters of people living in larger cities like Montgomery, Birmingham, Mobile, and Tuscaloosa. A large number of truck driving companies provide many different employment opportunities for truck drivers.