How to Find a Trucking School near Central Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Central AK. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Central residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Central AK, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind 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 2 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Central AK truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Central AK area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking 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. Having said that, even the best of Central AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alaska licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Central AK schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, 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 requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Central AK schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit 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 Central AK schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alaska testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Central AK school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit 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 truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate 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 poor job placement rate or few Central AK employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Central AK area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Central AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Central Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The AK-47, officially known as the Avtomat Kalashnikova (Russian: Автома́т Кала́шникова, tr. Avtomát Kaláshnikova, lit. Kalashnikov's Automatic Rifle; also known as the Kalashnikov and AK), is a gas-operated, 7.62×39mm assault rifle, developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is the originating firearm of the Kalashnikov rifle (or "AK") family.
Design work on the AK-47 began in 1945. In 1946, the AK-47 was presented for official military trials, and in 1948, the fixed-stock version was introduced into active service with selected units of the Soviet Army. An early development of the design was the AKS (S—Skladnoy or "folding"), which was equipped with an underfolding metal shoulder stock. In early 1949, the AK-47 was officially accepted by the Soviet Armed Forces and used by the majority of the member states of the Warsaw Pact.
Even after almost seven decades, the model and its variants remain the most popular and widely used assault rifles in the world because of their substantial reliability under harsh conditions, low production costs compared to contemporary Western weapons, availability in virtually every geographic region and ease of use. The AK-47 has been manufactured in many countries and has seen service with armed forces as well as irregular forces and insurgencies worldwide, and was the basis for developing many other types of individual, crew-served and specialised firearms. As of 2004[update], "Of the estimated 500 million firearms worldwide, approximately 100 million belong to the Kalashnikov family, three-quarters of which are AK-47s".
Pick the Best CDL School Central AK
Picking the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Central AK.
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