How to Decide on a Truck Driver School near Anchor Point Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Anchor Point AK. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Anchor Point home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Anchor Point AK, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 might also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Anchor Point AK truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Anchor Point AK area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked 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 best of Anchor Point AK schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement 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 companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alaska licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alaska and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Anchor Point AK schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. 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 great trucking school will provide lots 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard 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 Anchor Point AK schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Anchor Point AK schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there 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 allowed in Alaska, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alaska testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Anchor Point AK school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Anchor Point AK employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Anchor Point AK area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Anchor Point AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Anchor Point Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Anchor Point, Alaska
Anchor Point is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Kenai Peninsula Borough, in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census the population was 1,930, up from 1,845 in 2000. The community is located along the Sterling Highway, part of Alaska State Route 1. Anchor Point is the westernmost point in the North American highway system.
Anchor Point is located at 59°46′39″N 151°46′13″W / 59.77750°N 151.77028°W / 59.77750; -151.77028 (59.777468, -151.770220) on the eastern shore of Cook Inlet. It is bordered to the north by Happy Valley, to the northeast by Nikolaevsk, and to the south by Diamond Ridge. The Anchor River runs through the southern part of the CDP, entering Cook Inlet just west of the town center.
The town is the furthest west on the U.S. highway system.Alaska Route 1 runs southeast from Anchor Bay 15 miles (24 km) to Homer and northeast 59 miles (95 km) to Soldotna. Anchorage is 206 miles (332 km) to the northeast via Route 1.
Pick the Ideal Trucking School Anchor Point AK
Picking the right trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Anchor Point AK.
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