How to Select a Trucking School near Ekwok Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Ekwok AK. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Ekwok home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Ekwok AK, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief summaries for the two 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. 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 needed 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 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Ekwok AK truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are a few more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Ekwok AK area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective 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 requires 44 hours of real 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 Operation? One indicator to help determine 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 stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Ekwok AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask 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 additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alaska licensing authority to verify 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 hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk 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 higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Ekwok AK schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will furnish plenty of 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential 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 become. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Ekwok AK schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Ekwok AK schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Alaska testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Ekwok AK school you select 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 willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Ekwok AK employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Ekwok AK area 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 a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Ekwok AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Ekwok Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Ekwok means "end of the bluff" in Yupik. It is the oldest continuously occupied Yupik village on the Nushagak River. During the 1800s, the settlement was used in the spring and summer as a fish camp, and in the fall as a base camp for picking berries. By 1923, it was the largest settlement along the river.
From the early 1900s until 1941, mail was delivered by dog sled from Dillingham. In 1941 a post office opened in Ekwok. Before 1960, most of the buildings in Ekwok were located in a low area near the river. After a flood in the early 1960s, the village was relocated to its current location.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Ekwok has a total area of 17.5 square miles (45.4 km2), of which 16.3 square miles (42.1 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.2 km2), or 7.10%, is water.
Select the Ideal Trucking School Ekwok AK
Choosing the right truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to think about 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 trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Ekwok AK.
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