How to Decide on a CDL Driving School Craig Alaska
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Craig AK. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Craig home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Craig AK, an operator needs to 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. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss 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 2 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Craig AK truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Craig AK area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Craig AK schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alaska licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alaska and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Craig AK schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial 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 standards, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide ample 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Craig AK schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Craig AK schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third 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 advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Craig AK school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Craig AK employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Craig AK area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Craig AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Craig Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Craig (Tlingit: Sháan Séet) is a first-class city in the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area in the Unorganized BoroughA[›] in the U.S. state of Alaska. The population was 1,201 at the 2010 census, down from 1,397 in 2000.
Craig is the largest town on Prince of Wales Island, the fourth largest island in the USA. Craig is approximately 56 miles (90 km) by air northwest of Ketchikan and 220 miles (350 km) south of Juneau.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.4 square miles (24.3 km2), of which, 6.7 square miles (17.4 km2) of it is land and 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) of it (28.94%) is water.
Select the Best CDL School Craig AK
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Craig AK.
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