How to Find a Truck Driving School near Platinum Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Platinum AK. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Platinum residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Platinum AK, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries for 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Platinum AK trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are some more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Platinum AK area are accredited because of the demanding 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 certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, 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 truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Platinum AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alaska licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Platinum AK schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful 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 possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Platinum AK schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free 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 referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Platinum AK schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted 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 battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alaska testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Platinum AK school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Platinum AK employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Platinum AK area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are examining 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 Platinum AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Platinum Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Platinum is located at 59°00′47″N 161°48′59″W / 59.01306°N 161.81639°W / 59.01306; -161.81639. It is located on Goodnews Bay adjacent to the mouth of the Small River and eleven miles southwest of Goodnews and the Kilbuck Mountains.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 44.7 square miles (116 km2), of which, 44.6 square miles (116 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.16%) is water.
Platinum was named in the 1930s due to the platinum ore found in the area. The site was a mining boomtown by 1937 boasting a roadhouse, two trading posts and a population of fifty. A post office had been established in 1935. An earlier Eskimo village called Agvik had been abandoned. The town was incorporated as a city in 1975.
Select the Right Trucking School Platinum AK
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Platinum AK.
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