How to Find a Trucking School near Ambler Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Ambler AK. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Ambler residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Ambler AK, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject 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 type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 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 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 may also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Ambler AK trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are some more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Ambler AK area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, 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 several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks 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 business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Ambler AK schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alaska 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 must be licensed in Alaska and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is particularly 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 drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Ambler AK schools offer 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 Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will furnish plenty 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Ambler AK schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different 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. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Ambler AK schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Alaska, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alaska testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Ambler AK school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your CDL 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 percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Ambler AK employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Ambler AK area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Ambler AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Ambler Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Ambler (Inupiaq: Ivisaappaat, IPA: [ivisaːpːaːt]) is a city in Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 258, down from 309 in 2000. The city is located in the large Iñupiaq language speaking region of Alaska, and the local dialect is known as the Ambler dialect (related to the Shugnak dialect). As of 1999[update], over 91% of the community speaks and understands the language (Kraus, 1999), with many young children actively learning the language in school. It has important relationships with the "hub" city of Kotzebue, Alaska and has important relationships with Maniilaq Health Association.
Ambler is located at 67°05′06″N 157°51′37″W / 67.085000°N 157.860331°W / 67.085000; -157.860331, on the north bank of the Kobuk River, near the confluence of the Ambler and the Kobuk Rivers. It lies 45 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It is 138 miles northeast of Kotzebue, 30 miles northwest of Kobuk and 30 miles downriver from Shungnak. Ambler is located in the Kotzebue Recording District.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.8 square miles (28 km2). 9.5 square miles (25 km2) of it is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2) of it (11.91%) is water.
Pick the Right Truck Driver School Ambler AK
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Ambler AK.
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