How to Pick a Truck Driver School near Scammon Bay Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Scammon Bay AK. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Scammon Bay home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams 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 address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Scammon Bay AK, a driver must obtain 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 subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and 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). Below are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 required 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Scammon Bay AK truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed 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 or even more important. So below are several additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Scammon Bay AK area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Scammon Bay AK schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alaska licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alaska and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Scammon Bay AK schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to 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 happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide plenty 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Scammon Bay AK schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Scammon Bay AK schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd 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 advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Scammon Bay AK school you enroll in 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 willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. 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 national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Scammon Bay AK employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Scammon Bay AK area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid 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 Scammon Bay AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Scammon Bay Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Scammon Bay, Alaska
Scammon Bay (Marayaaq in Central Yup'ik) is a city in Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 474, up from 465 in 2000. It is named after Charles Melville Scammon Chief of Marine of the Western Union Telegraph Expedition by William Healey Dall in 1870. A local dish was also named after Scammon, which is a mixture of scrambled eggs and salmon, taking advantage of the abundance of the fish in the local waters. Popular folk etymology states that scammon is a portmanteau of "scrambled salmon", but that is false as the name of the dish came after the town was named.
As of the census of 2000, there were 465 people, 96 households, and 84 families residing in the city. The population density was 737.8 people per square mile (285.0/km²). There were 114 housing units at an average density of 180.9 per square mile (69.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 1.94% White, 0.22% Black or African American, 96.13% Native American, 0.22% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 1.29% from two or more races. 0.22% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 96 households out of which 66.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.3% were married couples living together, 19.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 12.5% were non-families. 12.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 1.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.84 and the average family size was 5.25.
Choose the Right Truck Driving School Scammon Bay AK
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive 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 in some cases 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 company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Scammon Bay AK.
More Trucking Locations in Alaska