How to Find a CDL Driving School near Tenakee Springs Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Tenakee Springs 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 research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Tenakee Springs home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Tenakee Springs AK, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are short descriptions for the 2 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed 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. Some 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 types of vehicles, for instance 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 authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Tenakee Springs AK truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Tenakee Springs AK area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical 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 caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Tenakee Springs AK schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alaska licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater 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 regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Tenakee Springs AK schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Tenakee Springs AK schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Tenakee Springs AK schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Alaska, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide 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 indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Tenakee Springs AK school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Tenakee Springs AK employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Tenakee Springs AK area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Tenakee Springs AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Tenakee Springs Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Tenakee Springs, Alaska
Tenakee Springs (Tlingit: Tlaaguwu Aan) is a city on Chichagof Island in Hoonah-Angoon Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 131, up from 104 at the 2000 census.
Tenakee Springs is located on the northern part of Chichagof Island at 57°46′41″N 135°13′11″W / 57.77806°N 135.21972°W / 57.77806; -135.21972 (57.778095, -135.219618), on the north side of Tenakee Inlet, about 10 miles (16 km) west of its mouth in Chatham Strait.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.1 square miles (49.5 km2), of which 14.2 square miles (36.7 km2) are land and 4.9 square miles (12.8 km2), or 25.78%, are water.
Select the Ideal Truck Driver School Tenakee Springs AK
Picking the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Tenakee Springs AK.
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