How to Select a CDL Driving School near Kasigluk Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Kasigluk AK. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Kasigluk residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Kasigluk AK, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class 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 short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 CDL is needed to operate 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. 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Kasigluk AK truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Kasigluk AK area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Kasigluk AK schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history 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 relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alaska licensing department to make sure 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 hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train 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. Most Kasigluk AK schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Kasigluk AK schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Kasigluk AK schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alaska, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Kasigluk AK school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Kasigluk AK employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Kasigluk AK area technical or vocational 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 aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Kasigluk AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Kasigluk Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Kasigluk /kəˈsɪɡlʊk/ (Kassigluq in Yup'ik) is a census-designated place (CDP) in the Bethel Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. At the 2010 census the population was 569, up from 543 in 2000. Kasigluk consists of two smaller villages, called Akiuk and Akula.
Kasigluk is located at 60°53′31″N 162°32′9″W / 60.89194°N 162.53583°W / 60.89194; -162.53583 (60.892005, -162.535805) along the Johnson River in the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta of western Alaska. It is approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Bethel.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 13.1 square miles (34.0 km2), of which 12.1 square miles (31.3 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.7 km2), or 7.94%, is water.
Select the Ideal Truck Driver School Kasigluk AK
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation 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 offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get 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 may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Kasigluk AK.
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