How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Venetie Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Venetie AK. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Venetie home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to make sure you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover 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 Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Venetie AK, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address 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). Following are short explanations 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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 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 need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Venetie AK truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must 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 some additional points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Venetie AK area are accredited due to 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 know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess 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 be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Venetie AK schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alaska licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker 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 teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Venetie AK schools offer 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 Instructors? As previously stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to 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 happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Venetie AK schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Venetie AK schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted 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 from other schools for test times at Alaska testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Venetie AK school you enroll in 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 willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Venetie AK employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Venetie AK area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Venetie AK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Venetie Alaska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Venetie (/ˈviːnɪtaɪ/ VEEN-i-ty;Vįįhtąįį in Gwich’in), is a census-designated place (CDP) in Yukon–Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 166, down from 202 in 2000. It includes the Village of Venetie, a Gwich'in tribal entity designated in the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
Gwich'in tribal leader John Fredson achieved federal recognition of the larger area of the Venetie Indian Reserve as Alaska Native territory in 1941, before Alaska was admitted to the union as a state. It was the largest reservation in Alaska, with approximately 1.4 million acres (5,700 km²) when established.
Under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, most reservations in Alaska were dissolved and the federal government made payments to tribes for considerable territory, designating areas as tribal lands. The Gwich'in tribal lands were reduced.
Select the Best Trucking School Venetie AK
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge 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. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to consider 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 company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Venetie AK.
More Trucking Locations in Alaska