How to Choose the Right Trucker School near Homer Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Homer 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 analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Homer home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Homer AK, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries for the 2 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 greater 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 more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Homer AK truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, including 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 need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Homer AK area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost 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 a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated 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 best of Homer AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alaska licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, 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 personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Homer AK schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, 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 requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide sufficient 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Homer AK schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Homer AK schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Homer 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 are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Homer AK employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Homer AK area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid 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 Homer AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Homer Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Homer is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is 218 miles southwest of Anchorage. According to the 2010 Census, the population is 5,003, up from 3,946 in 2000. Long known as The "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World." Homer is also nicknamed "the end of the road," and more recently, "the cosmic hamlet by the sea."
Homer is on the shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula. Its distinguishing feature is the Homer Spit, a narrow 4.5 mi (7.2 km)) long gravel bar that extends into the bay, on which is located the Homer Harbor.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.4 square miles (58 km2), of which 10.6 square miles (27 km2) is land and 11.9 square miles (31 km2) is water. The total area is 52.83% water.
Class B License School Homer AK
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold 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. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class B License School. However, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving 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 choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Homer AK.
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