How to Select a Trucking School near Auke Bay Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Auke Bay AK. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Auke Bay residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Auke Bay AK, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 needed 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. A few 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Auke Bay AK truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Auke Bay AK area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Auke Bay AK schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms 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 confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention 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 teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Auke Bay AK schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Auke Bay AK schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to 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 benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Auke Bay AK schools you are considering are captive or independent 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 trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alaska, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alaska testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Auke Bay AK school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Auke Bay AK employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Auke Bay 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Auke Bay AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Auke Bay Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Auke Bay, Juneau
Auke Bay is an unincorporated community located in the city and borough of Juneau, Alaska that contains Auke Bay Harbor, Auke Lake, the University of Alaska Southeast, an elementary school, a church, a post office, a bar, a coffee shop, a waffle house, a thrift shop, a Thai restaurant, and one convenience store. The view of the Mendenhall Glacier behind Auke Bay and Mount McGinnis towering over Auke Lake are some of the most popular photo opportunities in Juneau. The ferry terminal of the Alaska Marine Highway system is also located further out the road in Auke Bay at about 14 mile. The flamingo house on Auke Lake is a local attraction, known for its topical or weather-related formations of pink lawn flamingos. Whale watchings targeting curious humpbacks are available. Humpbacks in these areas are known to demonstrate special feeding methods, so-called 'Bubble-net feeding', and come very close to shores.
Auke Bay first appeared on the 1950 U.S. Census as an unincorporated village. It did not appear in 1960, but returned in 1970, just before all locales within Juneau Borough were consolidated into the city of Juneau.
For several months in 1940, Auke Bay was a stop for Pan American Airways "Alaska Clipper". The Alaska clipper was a Sikorsky S-42B four-engine flying boat. The aircraft was originally named "Bermuda Clipper" and served the Baltimore - Bermuda route. In 1940 it was renamed Alaska Clipper and flew from Matthews Beach on Lake Washington in Seattle to Auke Bay stopping in Ketchikan. Later in 1940, when Pan Am replaced the flying boat with DC-3 service, it was renamed again, this time "Hong Kong Clipper II", and began service on the Hong Kong - Manila route. The aircraft was destroyed by Japanese bombing in Hong Kong Harbor on December 8, 1941.
Select the Best CDL School Auke Bay AK
Selecting the right trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate 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 want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Auke Bay AK.
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