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How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Kalifornsky AK trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can't be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are a few more factors that you should 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 Kalifornsky AK area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school's course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Kalifornsky AK schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school's history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won't provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn't hurt to get in touch with the Alaska licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective 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 ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it's any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Kalifornsky AK schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it's imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It's also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher's ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative 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 between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Kalifornsky AK schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Kalifornsky AK schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alaska, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alaska testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it's essential that the Kalifornsky AK school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you're having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit 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 Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver's license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Kalifornsky AK employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Kalifornsky AK area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.