How to Find a CDL Training School Barrow Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Barrow AK. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Barrow home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Barrow AK, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions 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. 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 operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Barrow AK trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Barrow AK area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Barrow AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alaska licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker 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 trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Barrow AK schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will provide lots of 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Barrow AK schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular 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 maintaining associations with numerous 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 giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Barrow AK schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alaska, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alaska testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Barrow AK school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Barrow AK employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Barrow AK area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask 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.
Attending Truck Driving School near Barrow AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Barrow Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Utqiagvik, (Inupiaq: Utqiaġvik, IPA: [ut.qe.ɑʁ.βik], English: /ˌʊtkiˈɑːvɪk/ UUT-kee-AH-vik), officially the City of Utqiaġvik,[A] and previously Barrow (/ˈbæroʊ/) is the largest city and the borough seat of the North Slope Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska and is located north of the Arctic Circle. It is one of the northernmost public communities in the world and is the northernmost city in the United States. Nearby Point Barrow is the country's northernmost point. Utqiagvik's population was 4,581 at the 2000 census and 4,212 at the 2010 census.
The location has been home to the Iñupiat, an indigenous Inuit ethnic group, for more than 1,500 years. The city's native name, Utqiaġvik, refers to a place for gathering wild roots. It is derived from the Iñupiat word utqiq, also used for "potato". The name was first recorded in 1853 as "Ot-ki-a-wing" by Commander Maguire, Royal Navy,. John Simpson's native map dated 1855, records the name "Otkiawik," which was misprinted on the subsequent British Admiralty Chart as "Otkiovik."
The name Barrow was derived from Point Barrow, and was originally a general designation, because non-native Alaskan residents found it easier to pronounce than the Inupiat name. A post office established in 1901 helped the name "Barrow" to become dominant. Point Barrow was named after Sir John Barrow of the British Admiralty by explorer Frederick William Beechey in 1825.
Select the Best Truck Driver School Barrow AK
Selecting the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new profession 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 available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive 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 joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Barrow AK.
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