In Alaska, drivers do not need to attend CDL school or undergo any formal training unless they apply for a (S) school bus endorsement. However, there are many benefits to attending CDL training in Alaska that self-taught drivers miss out on. Attending school greatly increases the odds of success, especially regarding the test itself. More information about the CDL knowledge test can be found in the Alaska CDL Manual. Courses take students through both in-classroom education as well as hands-on driving experience, so they feel comfortable and confident completing the maneuvers that will be on the test.

Attending these trainings also increases your chance of success in the workplace. Many schools offer excellent CDL job placement services to help you move from the classroom to the cab working for a company in no time. Not only is driving a commercial vehicle a rewarding career, most truck driving jobs will offer you bonuses, benefits, independence and flexibility. If you are ready to get started with your career on the open road, registering at a CDL school in Alaska is a great first step.

What is CDL training in Alaska?

Training offers a thorough education to prepare students for the test and future employment opportunities. Many students consider Class A CDL training in Alaska as a first option because it offers the greatest range of flexibility regarding the type of vehicles that can be operated.

However, many schools will also offer Class B training, depending on the student’s needs. Students should also inquire about endorsements that may be necessary. For instance, in order to operate a school bus, the driver must possess an S endorsement.

Is CDL school required in Alaska?

CDL training in Alaska is only required for students who wish to operate a school bus. However, even if the driver doesn’t plan on becoming a school bus driver, receiving the proper training and guidance is still highly beneficial. The school offers the best training and guidance to help pass the state test and obtain the skills necessary for a rewarding career in truck driving.

Curriculum of Alaska CDL Classes

Students receive both in-classroom and on-the-road experience from qualified instructors. They learn general knowledge regarding basics like turns, shifting gears and road hazards. Classes are tailored to prepare students for the CDL test including the pre-inspection and driving skills test. Students at CDL school in Alaska can expect to learn about:

  • Road laws.
  • Safety procedures.
  • Vehicle parts and function.
  • On-road driving, skills and maneuvers.

In-Class Instruction for the CDL Written Test

CDL schools in Alaska may offer different education options regarding courses, costs and schedule. For example, there may be a Class A CDL course and a Class B CDL course or certain portions may be online, like test prep and practice.

The goal of the in-class instruction, whether taken in person or online, is to prepare for the Alaska general knowledge test. The knowledge test is an essential first step that establishes fundamental understanding of CDL driving and road laws.

The general knowledge test must be passed in order for an individual to be issued a learner permit and continue to practice their truck driving skills. Before a driver can get behind the wheel, this in-class instruction provides the fundamentals like differences between types of vehicles such as trailers, tankers and combination vehicles.

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction for the CDL Driving Test

CDL school in Alaska is ideal for behind-the-wheel training. Students have the opportunity to practice maneuvers and vehicle operation under the guidance of an experienced, qualified professional once they meet the physical requirements. In contrast to the classroom work, active practice is the bulk of CDL training. Students will be able to practice:

  • Backing up.
  • Parking and vehicle docking.
  • Driving in urban areas.
  • Driving in traffic.
  • Maneuvering tight turns.

Once a student has their Alaska CDL learner permit, they can practice truck operation with a trained instructor. Many schools offer one-on-one guidance which is extremely helpful to correct errors and improve technical skills.

Moves can be repeated and fine-tuned. Experience is the best way to learn, especially in the case of this active job which relies on excellent reflexes and muscle memory.

How long is CDL training in Alaska?

Most CDL school programs last from three to six weeks. Check directly with the school admissions counselor or facilitator to see how long programs last and schedule availability. Some schools offer night time classes for those who are already employed or unable to attend in the mornings.

Classes may occur every week day or just a few days a week, for a set number of hours. Alaska CDL training should be clearly broken up into sections for in-class instruction and on-the-road driving experience.

Best CDL Schools Near Me in Alaska

There are quite a few schools to choose from. If you are looking for the one that is best for you, consider a variety of factors like what courses are offered, tuition costs and length of the program. Look for a reputable school that is well-known and established for a number of years.

Check if the school offers CDL job placement, as well. Here are some schools you may want to consider:

  • Northern Industrial Training, LLC: NIT offers Class A and Class B CDL license programs. There are 160-hour, 240-hour and 320-hour options. The school also has employer partners that they have built a relationship with to aid in placing students in CDL jobs as soon as they graduate. The school is located in Anchorage.
  • Kenai Peninsula Driving Instruction: This is one of the best CDL schools in Alaska. With glowing reviews from past students, the school is a one-stop-shop for all your CDL needs. The main CDL program is 154 hours including 108 hours of classroom instruction and 46 hours behind the wheel.
  • Center for Employment Education: Just like the name implies, this school focuses on preparing students for employment. This Alaska CDL school has multiple locations like Anchorage and Fairbanks and even offers a three week fast-track CDL training There is also a six-week basic course as well as a graduate training program for experienced professional drivers.

Benefits of Completing Alaska Truck Driving School

CDL school in Alaska offers many benefits. Because the state is so large, weather can be challenging and distances can be long, it’s extremely important to prepare drivers for the reality of truck driving in the state.

Professional training meets all of the federal and state guidelines to prepare students to be knowledgeable and skills CDL truck drivers, but it also gives them much needed experience on the road. Students are able to practice maneuvers in the correct type of vehicle, with the guidance of an instructor.

Additionally, training also increases your chance of success in the future. Not only are you more likely to pass the CDL test, you will also benefit from your school’s job placement assistance.

CDL job placement makes a huge difference because it shortens or entirely eliminates the time between your education and your gainful employment. It allows you to put your skills immediately to work and earn a paycheck in your new field.

CDL Training Costs in Alaska

Program costs vary from school to school. However, most prices fall between $1,000 to $10,000. Most reputable programs and CDL schools in Alaska cost $5,000 or $6,000.

When deciding on a school, be sure to consider the full cost including books, fees, testing costs and transportation costs for you to arrive at school. Getting a complete picture of the costs will help you make the best possible decision regarding the best CDL training program for you.

You may be able to take advantage of free CDL training if you are able to find an employment opportunity with a company that will cover the costs of your education. Many jobs offer company paid CDL training to eliminate your out-of-pocket costs. Call the school or conduct an internet search to find out which companies pay for training.

How to Self-Prep for Alaska CDL Exams

Preparation for the CDL exam is essential, whether you decide to go to CDL school in Alaska or not. You will want to print and study the AK CDL handbook to completely familiarize yourself with the state laws and regulations for commercial drivers.

Take advantage of CDL prep courses at your school or access a free CDL practice test. It is easy to find a CDL practice test online and it doesn’t take much time to go through it. However, you will want to spend time revisiting difficult questions, taking notes and doing multiple attempts.

When you do go to take the CDL test, you will have to pay a fee, whether you pass or not. It’s best to arrive prepared to make the most of your time and money.

Last updated on Wednesday, May 1 2019.

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