How to Find a CDL Training School near Atqasuk Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Atqasuk AK. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Atqasuk home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. 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 target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally in Alaska and within the USA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Atqasuk AK, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 CDL is required 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 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 need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Atqasuk AK trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Atqasuk AK truck driver schools are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, 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. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate 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 be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Atqasuk AK schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alaska licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction 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 insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Atqasuk AK schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the Atqasuk AK school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish 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 driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Atqasuk AK schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some Atqasuk AK truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. 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 place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alaska, find out if the Atqasuk AK schools you are considering 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 centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Atqasuk AK school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new career in Atqasuk AK. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed in Atqasuk AK.
Why Did You Want to Be a Trucker?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What compelled you to decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Select the Right CDL School Atqasuk AK
Picking the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds 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 select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Atqasuk AK.
A Bit About Atqasuk Alaska
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 42.3 square miles (110 km2), of which 38.9 square miles (101 km2) is land and 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2) (8.22%) is water.
Atqasuk first appeared on the 1940 U.S. Census as the unincorporated village of "Meade River." It reported on the 1950 census as "Tikikluk." In 1960, it returned again as Meade River. It did not appear on the 1970 census. It next reported on the 1980 U.S. Census as "Atkasook", and was made a census designated place (CDP). It formally incorporated in 1982 as Atqasuk.
As of the census of 2000, there were 228 people, 55 households, and 44 families residing in the city. The population density was 5.9 people per square mile (2.3/km²). There were 60 housing units at an average density of 1.5 per square mile (0.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 4.82% White, 94.30% Native Alaskan, 0.44% Asian, and 0.44% from two or more races.
There were 55 households out of which 50.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.3% were married couples living together, 21.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.2% were non-families. 16.4% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.15 and the average family size was 4.49.
More Cities of Interest in Alaska