How to Pick the Right CDL Driving School near Atqasuk Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Atqasuk AK. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Atqasuk home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional 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 address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Atqasuk AK, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and 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 needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 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. 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 need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Atqasuk AK truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Atqasuk AK area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Atqasuk AK schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, 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 confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alaska and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, 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 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 be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Atqasuk AK schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though 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 important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will provide lots of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Atqasuk AK schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Atqasuk AK schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Atqasuk AK school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin 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, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Atqasuk AK employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Atqasuk AK area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Atqasuk AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Atqasuk Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 42.3 square miles (110 km2), of which 38.9 square miles (101 km2) is land and 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2) (8.22%) is water.
Atqasuk first appeared on the 1940 U.S. Census as the unincorporated village of "Meade River." It reported on the 1950 census as "Tikikluk." In 1960, it returned again as Meade River. It did not appear on the 1970 census. It next reported on the 1980 U.S. Census as "Atkasook", and was made a census designated place (CDP). It formally incorporated in 1982 as Atqasuk.
As of the census of 2000, there were 228 people, 55 households, and 44 families residing in the city. The population density was 5.9 people per square mile (2.3/km²). There were 60 housing units at an average density of 1.5 per square mile (0.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 4.82% White, 94.30% Native Alaskan, 0.44% Asian, and 0.44% from two or more races.
Trucking Schools Near Me Atqasuk AK
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to launching 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 critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Trucking Schools Near Me. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Atqasuk AK.
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