How to Decide on a CDL Driving School near Moose Pass Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Moose Pass AK. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Moose Pass residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable 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? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Moose Pass AK, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight 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 short explanations of the 2 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. A few 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 operate 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Moose Pass AK truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Moose Pass AK area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Moose Pass AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alaska licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alaska and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly 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 relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Moose Pass AK schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. 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.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Moose Pass AK schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Moose Pass AK schools you are looking at 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 truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alaska, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Moose Pass 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 particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Moose Pass AK employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Moose Pass AK area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance 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 Moose Pass AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Moose Pass Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Moose Pass, Alaska
Moose Pass is located at 60°29′16″N 149°22′15″W / 60.48778°N 149.37083°W / 60.48778; -149.37083 (60.487778, -149.370833). Surrounded by the Chugach National Forest, it is located 100 miles south of Anchorage by road, and 30 miles north of Seward on the Seward Highway along Upper Trail Lake.
As of the census of 2000, there were 206 people, 84 households, and 51 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 11.4 people per square mile (4.4/km²). There were 119 housing units at an average density of 6.6/sq mi (2.5/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 87.38% White, 1.46% Black or African American, 5.83% Native American, and 5.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.49% of the population.
There were 84 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.6% were married couples living together, 4.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.13.
Pick the Right Truck Driving School Moose Pass AK
Picking the right trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Moose Pass AK.
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