How to Select a Trucking School near Clear Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Clear AK. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Clear home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss 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 Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally in Alaska and within the USA, an operator needs to obtain 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 choose a truck driving school near Clear AK, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Clear AK trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Clear AK trucking schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue 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 usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Clear AK schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alaska licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Clear AK schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the Clear AK school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential 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 can vary 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 Clear AK schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain Clear AK truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide 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 allowed in Alaska, find out if the Clear AK schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Clear AK school you choose offers 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 prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession in Clear AK. Verify 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, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed in Clear AK.
Why Did You Want to Be a Truck Driver?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What compelled you to select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Trucking School Clear AK
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to look into 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 enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Clear AK.
A Bit About Clear Alaska
The AK-47, or AK as it is officially known (Russian: Автомат Калашникова, translit. Avtomat Kalashnikova, lit. 'Kalashnikov's Automatic Rifle'), also known as the Kalashnikov, is a gas-operated, 7.62×39mm assault rifle, developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is the originating firearm of the Kalashnikov rifle (or "AK") family.
Design work on the AK-47 began in 1945. In 1946, the AK-47 was presented for official military trials, and in 1948, the fixed-stock version was introduced into active service with selected units of the Soviet Army. An early development of the design was the AKS (S—Skladnoy or "folding"), which was equipped with an underfolding metal shoulder stock. In early 1949, the AK-47 was officially accepted by the Soviet Armed Forces and used by the majority of the member states of the Warsaw Pact.
Even after almost seven decades, the model and its variants remain the most popular and widely used assault rifles in the world because of their substantial reliability under harsh conditions, low production costs compared to contemporary Western weapons, availability in virtually every geographic region and ease of use. The AK-47 has been manufactured in many countries and has seen service with armed forces as well as irregular forces and insurgencies worldwide, and was the basis for developing many other types of individual, crew-served and specialised firearms. As of 2004, "Of the estimated 500 million firearms worldwide, approximately 100 million belong to the Kalashnikov family, three-quarters of which are AK-47s".
During World War II, the Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle used by German forces made a deep impression on their Soviet counterparts. The select-fire rifle was chambered for a new intermediate cartridge, the 7.92×33mm Kurz, and combined the firepower of a submachine gun with the range and accuracy of a rifle. On 15 July 1943, an earlier model of the Sturmgewehr was demonstrated before the People's Commissariat of Arms of the USSR. The Soviets were impressed with the weapon and immediately set about developing an intermediate caliber fully automatic rifle of their own, to replace the PPSh-41 submachine guns and outdated Mosin–Nagant bolt-action rifles that armed most of the Soviet Army.
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