How to Find a Truck Driving School near Point Baker Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Point Baker AK. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Point Baker home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address 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 Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Point Baker AK, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type 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 summaries for the two 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. 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 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. Some 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Point Baker AK truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Point Baker AK area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks 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 rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Point Baker AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alaska licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual 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 train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Point Baker AK schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, 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 replacement 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 benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Point Baker AK schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Point Baker AK schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Point Baker AK school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending 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 attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Point Baker AK employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Point Baker AK area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Point Baker AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Point Baker Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Point Baker, Alaska
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), of which, 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (3.96%) is water.
In 1975, Pt Baker made national news when Zieske v Butz, a landmark lawsuit against the US Forest Service brought by residents Charles Zieske, Alan Stein, and Herb Zieske, was decided by Judge Van der Heydt, the Alaska Federal District court judge. The lawsuit stopped planned clear cutting on 400,000 acres (1,600 km2) on the north end of Prince of Wales Island. The lawsuit was initiated by Alan Stein and the Point Baker Association which had about 30 fishermen members from the communities of Pt baker and Port Protection. On December 24, 1975, Van der Hedyt issued an injunction against all clearcutting on the North end of the island from Red Bay to Calder Bay.
Congress lifted the injunction when it passed the National Forest Management Act in 1976. Twice more Pt Baker made headlines. In 1989 many of its residents opposed clear cutting in Salmon Bay which was protected by Congress in the Tongass Timber Reform Act of 1990. This statute also protected all the salmon streams in the Tongass with 100-foot-wide (30 m) buffer strips during logging operations.
Pick the Best Truck Driving School Point Baker AK
Selecting the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Point Baker AK.
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