How to Decide on a CDL Training School near Elmendorf Afb Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Elmendorf Afb AK. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Elmendorf Afb residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Elmendorf Afb AK, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 CDL is required 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. A few 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 require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Elmendorf Afb AK truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are a few additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Elmendorf Afb AK area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, 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 a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Elmendorf Afb AK schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alaska licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
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 cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Elmendorf Afb AK schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some 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 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Elmendorf Afb AK schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous 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 giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Elmendorf Afb AK schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Alaska, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Elmendorf Afb AK school you choose provides 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 teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Elmendorf Afb AK employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Elmendorf Afb AK area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Elmendorf Afb AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Elmendorf Afb Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson
Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson (IATA: EDF, ICAO: PAED, FAA LID: EDF) is a United States military facility in Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska. It is an amalgamation of the United States Air Force's Elmendorf Air Force Base and the United States Army's Fort Richardson, which were merged in 2010.
The adjacent facilities were officially combined by the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission. Its mission is to support and defend U.S. interests in the Asia Pacific region and around the world by providing units who are ready for worldwide air power projection and a base that is capable of meeting PACOM's theater staging and throughput requirements.
It is the home of the Headquarters, Alaskan Command (ALCOM), Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR), Joint Task Force-Alaska (JTF-AK), Eleventh Air Force (11 AF), the 673d Air Base Wing, the 3rd Wing, the 176th Wing and other Tenant Units.
Select the Best Truck Driving School Elmendorf Afb AK
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want 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 CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Elmendorf Afb AK.
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