How to Pick a Trucking School near Mekoryuk Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Mekoryuk AK. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Mekoryuk residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge 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 choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Mekoryuk AK, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select 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 in addition to 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 CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance 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 Evaluate a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Mekoryuk AK trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Mekoryuk AK area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense 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 certain advantages. Prospective 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 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Mekoryuk AK schools had to begin from their opening 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 employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alaska licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Mekoryuk AK schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students 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 become. And even though driving time fluctuates 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. Check with the Mekoryuk AK schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driver 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 offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Mekoryuk AK schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. 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 convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Mekoryuk AK school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Mekoryuk AK employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Mekoryuk AK area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Mekoryuk AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Mekoryuk Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
While conducting the 1880 United States Census, Ivan Petrof recorded 702 Yup'ik in 9 villages, including 117 people at "Koot", near the site of present-day Mekoryuk. An epidemic in 1900 left only four surviving families in the village.
In the 1930s, the Evangelical Covenant Church was built at Mekoryuk, followed by a school in 1939. People moved to the village from other areas of the island to be near the school. Reindeer herding was introduced in 1920 by an Eskimo-Russian trader. The operation was purchased by the United States government in the 1940s and a slaughterhouse was built in 1945. The reindeer were crossed with caribou from Denali Park. The resulting animals were larger and less tame than other reindeer. 34 musk ox from Greenland were transferred to the Nunivak Island in 1934 in an effort to save the species from extinction. Today, the musk-ox herd numbers around 500, and calves from this herd have been relocated and introduced to other areas of Alaska.
The 1950s and 1960s brought considerable change. Mekoryuk Airport was built in 1957. The Territorial Guard was formed and men were sent to Fort Richardson near Anchorage for training. During this time, many families moved to Bethel during the winter to be near the high school, returning in the spring for fishing and sea mammal hunting. A high school was constructed in Mekoryuk in 1978.
Select the Ideal Truck Driver School Mekoryuk AK
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning 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 receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Mekoryuk AK.
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