How to Choose a CDL Training School near Nuiqsut Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Nuiqsut AK. Perhaps it has always been your ambition 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 income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Nuiqsut residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover 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 CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Nuiqsut AK, a driver 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 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 brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 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 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 need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Nuiqsut AK trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are some more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Nuiqsut AK area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent 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 know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Nuiqsut AK schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alaska licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alaska and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Nuiqsut AK schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good 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 driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Nuiqsut AK schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with a wide range of 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 flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Nuiqsut AK schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Alaska, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Nuiqsut AK school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor 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 accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Nuiqsut AK employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Nuiqsut AK area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Nuiqsut AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Nuiqsut Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Nuiqsut is in the North Slope Borough on the Nechelik Channel, about 35 miles (56 km) from the Beaufort Sea coast. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.2 square miles (24 km2), all of it land. Air travel to the Nuiqsut Airport provides the only year-round access to Nuiqsut. Nuiqsut is accessible during the winter via an ice road and was featured in season four episode one of the History television channel series Ice Road Truckers, when a convoy of truckers delivered supplies to the village.
As of the census of 2000, there were 433 people, 110 households, and 90 families residing in the city. The population density was 47.0 people per square mile (18.2/km²). There were 126 housing units at an average density of 13.7 per square mile (5.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 10.16% White, 0.23% Black or African American, 88.22% Native American, 0.46% Asian, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.23% of the population.
There were 110 households out of which 54.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.7% were married couples living together, 22.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.3% were non-families. 15.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 0.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.93 and the average family size was 4.24.
Select the Ideal CDL School Nuiqsut AK
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Nuiqsut AK.
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