How to Select the Right Truck Driving Classes near Point Lay Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Point Lay AK. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Point Lay home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll get the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select 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 commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Point Lay AK, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply 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 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 of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Point Lay AK trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Point Lay AK area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Point Lay 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 track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Alaska licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alaska and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Point Lay AK schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, 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 prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors 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 level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Point Lay AK schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships 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 work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Point Lay AK schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Alaska, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alaska testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Point Lay AK school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. 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 obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Point Lay AK employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Point Lay 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 assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
CDL Training Point Lay Alaska
Choosing the right truck driving school is an important 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 vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Training and wanting information on the topic Get CDL License. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big 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 reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Point Lay AK.
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Point Lay, Alaska
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 34.5 square miles (89 km2), of which, 30.5 square miles (79 km2) of it is land and 4.0 square miles (10 km2) of it (11.66%) is water.
Point Lay once was on a barrier island of Kasegaluk Lagoon, but moved to the mainland near the mouth of the Kokolik River during the 1970s. A weather station was operated from October 1949 to March 1958.
Point Lay first appeared on the 1880 U.S. Census as an unincorporated Inuit village. All 30 of its residents were Inuit. It returned again in 1890 with 77 residents, all native. It did not appear again until 1940 and again in 1950. The original settlement on the barrier island was relocated a mile to the east on the mainland in the 1970s. The new village of Point Lay returned on the 1980 U.S. Census and was made a census-designated place (CDP). It has continued to return on each successive census.