How to Choose the Best CDL Driving School near Kake Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Kake AK. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Kake home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills 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 decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Kake AK, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are short descriptions of the 2 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. 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Kake AK truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are several additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Kake AK area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered 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 be given lots of driving time. As an 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Kake AK schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Alaska licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Alaska and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Kake 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 Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide plenty 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs among 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. Contact the Kake AK schools you are researching and ask 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 particular 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 associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly 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 obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Kake AK schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alaska testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Kake AK school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Kake AK employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Kake AK area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask 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.
Semi Truck Driving School Kake Alaska
Picking the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Semi Truck Driving School and wanting information on the topic CDL Training Schools Near Me. However, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Kake AK.
Truck On in These Other Alaska Locations
Kake (/ˈkeɪk/, like 'cake') is a first-class city in Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, Alaska, United States. The population was 557 at the 2010 census. The name comes from the Tlingit word Ḵéix̱ (Northern Tlingit) or Ḵéex̱ (Southern Tlingit), which is derived from ḵée 'dawn, daylight' and x̱ʼé 'mouth', i.e. 'mouth of dawn' or 'opening of daylight'.
Kake is located at 56°58′15″N 133°56′2″W / 56.97083°N 133.93389°W / 56.97083; -133.93389 (56.970841, -133.933751). Kake is on the northwest coast of Kupreanof Island in the Alexander Archipelago in southeastern Alaska.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.2 square miles (37 km2), of which, 8.2 square miles (21 km2) of it is land and 6.0 square miles (16 km2) of it (42.37%) is water.