How to Find a Truck Driver School near Healy Alaska
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Healy AK. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Healy residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Alaska and within the USA, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 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 pick a truck driver school near Healy AK, we will focus on Class A and Class 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). Below are brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 more 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 may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Healy AK truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Healy AK truck driving schools are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 meet the very high benchmarks 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 business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Healy AK schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alaska licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Healy AK schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the Healy AK school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Healy AK schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some Healy AK truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, 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 have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the 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 driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Alaska, find out if the Healy AK schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Healy AK school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit 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 obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession in Healy AK. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other trade or technical 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 aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed in Healy AK.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a trucker, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare several ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the best candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Right CDL School Healy AK
Choosing the right truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving 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 several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Healy AK.
A Bit About Healy Alaska
Healy is located at 63°58′15″N 149°7′37″W / 63.97083°N 149.12694°W / 63.97083; -149.12694 (63.970833, -149.126944). The George Parks Highway (Alaska Route 3) runs through the community, leading south 18 miles (29 km) to Denali Park and north 56 miles (90 km) to Nenana.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Healy CDP has a total area of 687.2 square miles (1,779.8 km2), of which 687.0 square miles (1,779.2 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2), or 0.03%, is water. By area, it is the second-largest CDP in the United States, exceeded by only Willow, Alaska.
As is typical of the Alaska Interior, Healy experiences a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) with very long, bitterly cold winters and short, warm summers, and straddles the border between USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 2 and 3, indicating the coldest temperature of the year is typically around −40 °F (−40 °C). Average temperatures are below freezing from early October to mid-April, though occasionally chinook winds will push temperatures up to 45 °F (7.2 °C) even in the depths of winter.
In summer, temperatures reach 70 °F (21.1 °C) on 34 afternoons and 80 °F (26.7 °C) on 5.4, with an average of one morning not falling below 60 °F (15.6 °C). The first frost typically occurs in late August, but sometimes it can happen during the first half of that month. A majority of the annual precipitation of 15.17 inches (385.3 mm) occurs during summer as well. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −52 °F (−46.7 °C) up to 93 °F (33.9 °C).
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