How to Pick a Truck Driving School near Mc Grath Alaska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Mc Grath AK. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Mc Grath residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Alaska and within the USA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Mc Grath AK, we will address 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 explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 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. 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 may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Mc Grath AK trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are several more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Mc Grath AK trucking schools are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks 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 poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Mc Grath AK schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alaska licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective 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 teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Mc Grath AK schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to check out the Mc Grath AK school and talk to 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 ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Mc Grath AK schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of Mc Grath AK trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as 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 place their graduates with, captives only work with 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. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Alaska, ask if the Mc Grath AK schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Alaska testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Mc Grath 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 teacher should be prepared 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 obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession in Mc Grath AK. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. 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 in Mc Grath AK.
Why Did You Want to Become a Trucker?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a trucking operator, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Pick the Best Truck Driving School Mc Grath AK
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation 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 crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Mc Grath AK.
A Bit About Mc Grath Alaska
McGrath (Tochak’ in Upper Kuskokwim, Digenegh in Deg Xinag) is a city and village on the Kuskokwim River in Alaska, United States. The population was 401 at the 2000 census and 346 as of the 2010 census. Despite its small population, the village is an important transportation and economic hub for the area.
In 1904, Abraham Appel established a trading post in Old Town. In 1906, gold was discovered in the Innoko District, and in 1907, and at Ganes Creek. Since McGrath was the northernmost point on the Kuskokwim River accessible by large riverboats, it became a regional supply center. A town was established at the site of Old McGrath in 1907, and was named for Peter McGrath, a local United States Marshal. The Iditarod Trail also contributed to McGrath's role as a supply center. From 1911 to 1920, hundreds of people walked and mushed over the trail on their way to the Ophir gold districts. Mining sharply declined after 1925.
After a major flood in 1933, some residents moved across the river. Changes in the course of the river eventually left the old site on a slough, making it useless as a river stop. In 1940, an airstrip was cleared, the United States Federal Aviation Administration built a communications complex, and a school was opened. McGrath became an important refueling stop for Lend-Lease equipment during World War II.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 54.6 square miles (141 km2), of which, 48.9 square miles (127 km2) of it is land and 5.7 square miles (15 km2) of it (10.48%) is water.
More Cities of Interest in Alaska