How to Choose a Truck Driving School near Tanacross Alaska
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Tanacross AK. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Tanacross home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll receive the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Alaska and within the USA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Tanacross AK, we will address 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). Following are brief descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 may also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Tanacross AK truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Tanacross AK truck driving schools are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common 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 be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively 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 best of Tanacross AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alaska licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion 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 especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Tanacross AK schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the Tanacross AK school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will furnish 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Tanacross AK schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of Tanacross AK truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular 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 work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, find out if the Tanacross AK schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alaska testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher 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 essential that the Tanacross AK school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new career in Tanacross AK. 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, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted in Tanacross AK.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Truck Driver?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask truck driving prospects is "What drove you to decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a trucking operator, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must organize a number of ideas about how you want to address them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Select the Right CDL School Tanacross AK
Picking the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to launching 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 several options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive 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 affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Tanacross AK.
A Bit About Tanacross Alaska
Tanacross (Taats’altęy in Tanacross Athabascan) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 136. It hosts an air tanker base.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 81.2 square miles (210 km2), of which, 80.0 square miles (207 km2) of it is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) of it (1.38%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 140 people, 42 households, and 28 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1.7 people per square mile (0.7/km²). There were 53 housing units at an average density of 0.7/sq mi (0.3/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 8.57% White, 88.57% Native American, 1.43% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. 1.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 42 households out of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.5% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 28.6% 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 3.33 and the average family size was 3.93.
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