How to Pick a Truck Driving School near Trapper Creek Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Trapper Creek AK. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Trapper Creek residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose 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 commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Trapper Creek AK, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with 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 operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Trapper Creek AK truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Trapper Creek AK area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Trapper Creek AK schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alaska licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alaska and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal 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 insists it can teach 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. Most Trapper Creek AK schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few 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? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will furnish sufficient 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary 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 be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Trapper Creek AK schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Trapper Creek AK schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alaska testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Trapper Creek AK school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Trapper Creek AK employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Trapper Creek AK area vocational or trade 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 least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Trapper Creek AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Trapper Creek Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Trapper Creek, Alaska
Trapper Creek is a census-designated place (CDP) in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska, United States. It is part of the Anchorage, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area and is known as the southern gateway to Denali State Park. According to the 2010 census the population was 481, up from 423 in 2000.
Trapper Creek is a community located in Matanuska-Susitna Borough at latitude 62.317 and longitude -150.231, with an elevation of 351 ft (107 m). It is on mile 114.5 on Park's Highway, just south of Denali State Park. Trapper Creek is found at the intersection of Petersville Road and is spread out along the Parks Highway 15 miles north of Talkeetna Junction. Also, Trapper Creek extends down the Petersville Road, which leads to mining, prospecting, and recreation country in the foothills of the Alaska Range.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 370.8 square miles (960 km2), of which, 364.9 square miles (945 km2) of it is land and 5.8 square miles (15 km2) of it (1.58%) is water.
Choose the Ideal Trucking School Trapper Creek AK
Selecting the right truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Trapper Creek AK.
More Trucking Locations in Alaska