How to Select a Truck Driving School near Tatitlek Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Tatitlek AK. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by picking 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 no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Tatitlek home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest 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 Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Tatitlek AK, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses 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 driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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. 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 might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Tatitlek AK truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Tatitlek AK area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Tatitlek AK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Alaska licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching 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 cover more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Tatitlek AK schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide lots of 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Tatitlek AK schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Tatitlek AK schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Alaska testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Tatitlek AK school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Tatitlek AK employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Tatitlek AK area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating 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 Tatitlek AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Tatitlek Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Tatitlek /təˈtɪtlɪk/ (Alutiiq: Taatiilaaq) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska, United States. The population was 88 at the 2010 census, down from 107 in 2000. Tatitlek is in the Chugach School District and has one school, Tatitlek Community School, serving about 15 students from preschool through high school.
Tatitlek first appeared on the 1880 U.S. Census as the unincorporated Inuit village of "Tatikhlek." All 73 of its residents were Inuit. In 1890, it returned as "Tatitlak." This also included an unnamed Creole (mixed Russian and Native) village on Cordova (now Orca) Bay. Of the 90 residents, 53 were Native, 36 were Creole and 1 White. In 1900, it returned as "Tatiklek." In 1910 and in every successive census, it has returned as its present spelling of Tatitlek. It was made a census-designated place (CDP) in 1980. Within its boundaries is the former mining village of Ellamar (which reported on the 1910-20 & 1940-50 censuses. 1910: 98; 1920: 106; 1940: 23; 1950: 46).
As of the census of 2000, there were 107 people, 38 households, and 28 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 14.7 people per square mile (5.7/km²). There were 57 housing units at an average density of 7.8/sq mi (3.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 14.02% White, 84.11% Native American, 0.93% Asian, and 0.93% from two or more races.
Choose the Right Truck Driver School Tatitlek AK
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might want 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 enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Tatitlek AK.
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