How to Find a CDL Driving School Anderson Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Anderson AK. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Anderson residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Anderson AK, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 needed to operate 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 operators may be qualified to drive with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B CDLs might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Anderson AK truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are several more things 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 driving schools in the Anderson AK area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards 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 operation. A negatively ranked 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 Anderson AK schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check 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 must be licensed in Alaska and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Anderson AK schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish lots of 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Anderson AK schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Anderson AK schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alaska, find out 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 competing schools for test times at Alaska testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Anderson AK school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Anderson AK employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Anderson AK area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating 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 Anderson AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Anderson Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Anderson is a city in the Denali Borough, Alaska, United States, and the borough's only incorporated community. At the 2010 census the population was 246, down from 367 at the 2000 census. The city is named after one of the original homesteaders.
Anderson is named after Arthur Anderson, one of several homesteaders who settled in the area in the late 1950s. In 1959, Anderson subdivided his homestead into house lots and sold most of the lots to civilian workers from Clear Air Force Station, a Ballistic Missile Early Warning System station completed in 1961. An elementary school was built in the community in 1961, and Anderson incorporated as a city on June 2, 1962.
In the 1960s, a road was completed between Anderson and Nenana. A ferry across the Tanana River at Nenana provided access to the Fairbanks–Nenana Highway, and hence to Fairbanks and the contiguous North American highway system via the Richardson and Alaska Highways. The ferry was replaced with a bridge in 1968. In 1972, the George Parks Highway was completed, which provided direct road access to points south, including Anchorage.
Choose the Right CDL School Anderson AK
Picking the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want 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 choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Anderson AK.
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