How to Find the Right Trucking School near Eagle River Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Eagle River AK. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Eagle River residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Eagle River AK, an operator needs to get 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 subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are brief descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 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. Several of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate 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 drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Eagle River AK truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Eagle River AK area are accredited due to the stringent 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 obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. 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 top Eagle River AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alaska licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual instruction 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Eagle River AK schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary 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 be. And even though driving time differs among 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 Eagle River AK schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with a wide range of 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 freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Eagle River AK schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alaska testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Eagle River AK school you enroll in offers 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 teacher should be prepared to dedicate 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 fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Eagle River AK employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Eagle River 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Eagle River AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Eagle River Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Eagle River, Anchorage
Eagle River is a community within the Municipality of Anchorage situated on the Eagle River for which it is named, between Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Chugach State Park in the Chugach Mountains. Its ZIP code is 99577. If Eagle River were not part of the Municipality of Anchorage, it would be classified as one of the five largest cities in Alaska.
The name Eagle River was first reported in 1939 by the U.S. Geological Survey. The Eagle River/Chugiak area was settled by homesteaders and prospered on agricultural activities. The Eagle River post office was established in 1961.
In spite of some local opposition, both Chugiak and Eagle River became annexed to the Municipality of Anchorage, when the City of Anchorage and the Greater Anchorage Area Borough were unified in 1975. Efforts to secede from the Municipality surfaced around 2000, but are no longer prominent as the community has seen an influx of individuals who have social and economic ties to Anchorage and the nearby Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson.
How To Get Class B License Eagle River AK
Selecting the right trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge 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. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get Class B License. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash 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 enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Eagle River AK.
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