How to Choose a Truck Driver School near Glennallen Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Glennallen AK. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Glennallen home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose 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 review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally in Alaska and within the USA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Glennallen AK, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. Some 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Glennallen AK truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Glennallen AK trucking schools are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 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 truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked 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 Glennallen AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior 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 authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alaska and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Glennallen AK schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, 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 be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the Glennallen AK school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish sufficient 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Glennallen AK schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some Glennallen AK trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of 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 flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, find out if the Glennallen AK schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Alaska testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Glennallen AK school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new career in Glennallen AK. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed in Glennallen AK.
Why Did You Want to Become a Truck Driver?When preparing to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare some approaches about how you would like to address them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Pick the Right Truck Driving School Glennallen AK
Picking the right truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills 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 crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may 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 select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Glennallen AK.
A Bit About Glennallen Alaska
Glennallen /ɡlɛˈnælən/ (Ciisik’e Na’ in Ahtna) is a census-designated place (CDP) in the Valdez–Cordova Census Area in the Unorganized Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, the population of the CDP was 483, down from 554 in 2000.
Glennallen is located at 62°06′33″N 145°32′47″W / 62.10917°N 145.54639°W / 62.10917; -145.54639 (62.109170, -145.54639; Sec. 23, T004N, R002W, Copper River Meridian), in the Chitina Recording District and Game Management Unit 13.
It lies along the Glenn Highway at its junction with the Richardson Highway, 189 road miles (304 km) east of Anchorage. It is just outside the western boundary of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 114.9 square miles (298 km2), of which, 114.1 square miles (296 km2) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) of it (0.66%) is water.
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