How to Find a CDL Training School near Tanacross Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Tanacross 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 discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Tanacross residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal method 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 exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Tanacross AK, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class 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 brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Tanacross AK truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Tanacross AK area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Tanacross AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Alaska licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, 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 personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Tanacross AK schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark 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 Tanacross AK schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Tanacross AK schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third 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 reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alaska testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Tanacross AK school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates 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 Tanacross AK employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Tanacross AK area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out 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 need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Tanacross AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Tanacross Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Tanacross (Taats’altęy in Tanacross Athabascan) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 136, down from 140 in 2000. It hosts an air tanker base.
Tanacross, initially founded as a telegraph station called Tanana Crossing (also known as St. Timothy's). The name was shortened to Tanacross before 1940. The village was initially located on the north bank of the Tanana River. An airstrip was built on the south bank during the mid-1930s and upgraded for military use during World War II in 1941-42. Thousands of troops deployed through Tanacross during the period. The airfield was closed after the war. In 1972, the town itself relocated south across the river due to water contamination. In 1979, the old village burned due to an uncontrolled grass fire.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 81.2 square miles (210 km2), of which, 80.0 square miles (207 km2) of it is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) of it (1.38%) is water.
Pick the Right CDL School Tanacross AK
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds 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 trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Tanacross AK.
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