How to Decide on a CDL Driving School near Atqasuk Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Atqasuk AK. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Atqasuk residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal method to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Atqasuk AK, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 descriptions for 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. 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 operate 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. Several 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Atqasuk AK truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few more points that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Atqasuk AK area are accredited because of the demanding 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 required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Atqasuk AK schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alaska licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers 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 getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Atqasuk AK schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Atqasuk AK schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships 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 giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously 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 get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Atqasuk AK schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alaska, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alaska testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Atqasuk AK school you choose provides 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 devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Atqasuk AK employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Atqasuk AK area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Atqasuk AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Atqasuk Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 42.3 square miles (110 km2), of which 38.9 square miles (101 km2) is land and 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2) (8.22%) is water.
Atqasuk first appeared on the 1940 U.S. Census as the unincorporated village of "Meade River." It reported on the 1950 census as "Tikikluk." In 1960, it returned again as Meade River. It did not appear on the 1970 census. It next reported on the 1980 U.S. Census as "Atkasook", and was made a census designated place (CDP). It formally incorporated in 1982 as Atqasuk.
As of the census of 2000, there were 228 people, 55 households, and 44 families residing in the city. The population density was 5.9 people per square mile (2.3/km²). There were 60 housing units at an average density of 1.5 per square mile (0.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 4.82% White, 94.30% Native Alaskan, 0.44% Asian, and 0.44% from two or more races.
Choose the Ideal Truck Driving School Atqasuk AK
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation 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 many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might 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 truck driving 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 decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Atqasuk AK.
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