How to Find the Right Truck Driving School near Pelican Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Pelican AK. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Pelican home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations 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 cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Pelican AK, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply 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 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 brief 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 CDL is needed to operate 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. 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 might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Pelican AK truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are a few additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Pelican AK area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Pelican AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alaska licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alaska and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. 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 receiving the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Pelican AK schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through 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? Above all else, 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 real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators 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. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Pelican AK schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Pelican AK schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alaska, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Pelican AK school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate 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 not many Pelican AK employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Pelican AK area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Pelican AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Pelican Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Pelican (Tlingit: K'udeis'X̱'e) is a city in the northwestern part of Chichagof Island in Hoonah-Angoon Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 88, down from 163 at the 2000 census.
Pelican is located on the east side of Lisianski Inlet, a body of water that opens into Lisianski Strait and Cross Sound, on Chichagof Island at coordinates 57°57′30″N 136°13′27″W / 57.95833°N 136.22417°W / 57.95833; -136.22417 (57.958431, -136.224069).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.73 square miles (1.9 km2), of which 0.62 square miles (1.6 km2) are land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2), or 16.25%, are water.
How To Be A Truck Driver Pelican AK
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Be A Truck Driver. However, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm 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 joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Pelican AK.
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