How to Decide on a CDL Training School Atqasuk Alaska
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Atqasuk AK. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Atqasuk home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Atqasuk AK, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will address 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). Below are brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Atqasuk AK truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Atqasuk AK area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving 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 Atqasuk AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alaska licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized attention 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 professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Atqasuk AK schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will furnish 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard 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 Atqasuk AK schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Atqasuk AK schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alaska testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Atqasuk AK school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Atqasuk AK employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Atqasuk 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 examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving 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.
Pick the Best Trucking School Atqasuk AK
Choosing the right truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn 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. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need to think about 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 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 get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Atqasuk AK.
Other Awesome Locations in Alaska