If you are asking if being a truck driver is a good job to get into? The short answer is yes. You have the ability to travel across the country while making good pay; this is the job most people envied.
But you need to have the qualifications and license in order to become a driver. You have to take CDL training in Alaska and obtain the necessary license in order to delve into this job.
CDL certified truck drivers have the opportunity to earn a good paycheck and long-lasting career. Not only that, there is a continuous shortage of qualified drivers, which means there’s always available jobs waiting for you.
If you are a beginner and want to know how to become a truck driver, we prepared this article.
How to Become a CDL Truck Driver in this State
Start your journey of obtaining a CDL in Alaska, this will you a competitive edge. If you don’t know how or where to begin, here are steps you need to take to shorten the process:
- Decide if becoming a truck driver is the profession you want to get into. You probably have a number of professions in your list, being a truck driver may be the top of it. If you are physically fit and can travel on regular basis, you can be the right fit with this occupation. If you are still undecided if this job you want to delve into, make a firm decision and weigh in the pros and cons.
- Complete all the requirements before venturing out there. The list of what you need are below, please refer to that section. Adequate preparation of the requirements will save you time and money, so it is better to have everything completed.
- Choose what class and endorsement you want as commercial truck driver. The list of classes and endorsements you can apply and qualified for is below for your reference. Knowing first what CDL class and endorsement you need will able you to determine what program you need to attend at the school as this will save you valuable time and money.
- Find a truck driver school near your location where you can take a training program. We made a directory of truck driver schools in Alaska where you can enroll, see below. The school will provide you with the training and skills you need in order to pass the CDL written exams and road tests.
- Attend the classroom lectures and practical exercises provided by the school. Inside the classroom, you will learn the current government and federal regulations related to the profession, defensive driving, techniques to avoid accidents and collisions, traffic violations, and other topics that may be deemed necessary. The practical training is where you get the opportunity to operate the vehicle and gain driving skills.
Find a test schedule at the testing site near you. before doing, be prepared first, the tips for preparing are listed below. Find a schedule at your most convenient time.
- Pass the licensing tests. All the hard work and effort you put into completing the training will prepare you to pass the knowledge and road skills tests. The passing rate for the written test is 80% while for the road test, you have to demonstrate to the assessor that you can perform all the skills/practices he will ask you to do. See some ideas below on how to pass the CDL written and practice tests.
Truck Training Schools in Alaska Where You Can Enroll
Where to find a training provider where you can take a driving program? Here are the schools and colleges in Alaska that offers such as a course:
- Alaska Teamster-Employer Service Training Trust
520 E. 34th Avenue, Suite 201, Anchorage, AK 99503
Administrative Office: Anchorage Training, 907-278-3674, Fax: 907-279-6088
- Northern Industrial Training, LLC.
1740 Terrilou Ct, Palmer, AK 99645: P: 907.357.6400
Calais I, 3201 C St #308, Anchorage, AK 99503; P: 907.743.7700
- Center for Employment Education
1749 Ship Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501
3207 Internationals Ste 2, Fairbanks, AK 99701
- Alaska Driving Academy
44332 Sterling Hwy. Suite 16B, Soldotna, AK 99669
- Vocational Training & Resource Center (VTRC)
Address: 3239 Hospital Dr. , Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: (907) 463-7375;
- Yuut Elitnaurviat
Address: 610 Akiachak Drive , Bethel, AK 99559
Phone: (907) 543-0978
- AVTEC - Alaska Vocational Technical Center
P.O. Box 889, 809 2nd Avenue, Seward, Alaska 99664
(907) 224-3322, 1-800-478-5389, FAX (907) 224-4400
- Iḷisaġvik College
100 Stevenson Street, PO Box 749, Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska 99723
Local: 907-852-3333, Free: 800-478-7337, Fax: 800-478-7337
- University of Alaska Southeast
11066 Auke Lake Way, Juneau, AK 99801
contact admissions: 907-796-6100
- University of Alaska Fairbanks
1731 South Chandalar Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775
907-474-7034 (general information); 800-478-1823 (admissions)
How to Choose the Best Truck Driving School (Important Criteria)
Before deciding what school to attend at, it would pay off if you have some knowledge in choosing the right one. Here are some of the criteria that could help you select the best truck driving school:
- Choose the school with modern training facilities and equipment.
- Find the training school located nearest to where you are presently situated so that you avoid the hassle of driving for long hours to attend the classes.
- Choose the school with large fleet of vehicles for the students to train on.
- Choose the school that trains students in actual truck or vehicle and not in the simulator.
- Find the one with extensive behind-the-wheel exercises. The number of hours you will spend driving the vehicle will have a great impact on your driving skills. This will prepare you to pass the CDL practical test.
- Find a class with a small number of students-to-instructor ratio. Obviously, the more students are in the class the less quality education it will provide. With a small number of students, the instructor can give focus and attention to each one.
- Pick the one with job placement assistance and career guidance. The main goal of getting into this profession is, of course, to get a job as a truck driver; would it be great if the job placement would be provided to you by the school? They have a network of hiring managers looking for qualified individuals like you.
- Choose the school with a comprehensive curriculum and that the training hours are more than what the state obliges. The normal length of a training program stretches from 4 weeks up to 12 weeks, anything shorter than that would be unlikely to work for you to pass the CDL tests. The factors that affect the length are if you take the training full time or part-time.
- Pick the one that offers financial aid to students; it could help lower the financial burden and pay for the tuition. Federal grants are also are a great way to pay for the school.
- Choose the one that provides student loans, talk to the school if they offer such.
- Choose the school with high student pass rate. You can ask the school about this information, or ask your colleagues who had taken the course from that said school.
How to Pass the CDL Written Exam and Road-Driving Test
Below, I break down the essential tips I gathered from successful drivers so that you’re able to pass the tests too, just like them, here are the advices:
- First of all, obtain the latest copy of Alaska CDL manual, you can download it from here. The manual has everything you need to know in order to prepare and pass the exams. The manual has skills test module which is valuable to give a head start before making a road skill test with the examiner.
- Take a mock quiz. So that you can simulate what is going to happen in real examination. The school or trainer may have such resources for you to take a mock test.
- Download CDL practice test apps. There are two apps I can recommend, CDL Prep and DMV Genie. I suggest downloading both of them on your phone and play around and see which one you like better.
- If this is not your first time taking the test and you failed in the first try, reminisce what happened so that you correct it. Let’s say for example, if you failed in backing maneuvers of the road test, practice it again and again. Practicing makes you a lot better in the next try you’re taking the test.
- Enroll in truck driving school as we mentioned previously. This will surely boost your chance of passing both the written and road tests. The school will teach you everything you need both theoretically and practically.
- Review the requirements for getting CDL. It is vital to understand that you have what it takes to apply for CDL so that you won’t waste your resources. The list of what you need is below.
What Do You Need to Apply for CDL License
Preparation is important for you to be able to succeed in entering a profession. Like you, in the beginning, I was quite puzzled on how to start a truck driving career, and with proper preparation you can cut your time and expenses. Here are things you need to start this profession:
- You need to submit proof identification, for the list of recognized ID, please follow this page.
- You need to be at least 19 years old of age to operate a commercial vehicle intrastate and 21 years old for interstate and be an Alaskan resident.
- You must in good physical and health condition, you will submit your DOT Physical Card
- Valid driver’s license issued in Alaska and have held it for at least a year.
- Of course, you need to have a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) prior to applying for an actual CDL. If you don’t have a CLP yet and want to apply, click here. If you’re upgrading to a higher class, or applying for an additional endorsement, you must have held your CLP for at least 14 days before applying.
- Your social security number is also needed.
- $100 as an application fee and $25 for the road test. (as of this writing, that are the fees; check if the price changes).
- You must have a clean driving record and pass the substance abuse test.
- A high school diploma or a GED certificate is also needed; the training school will ask you this upon enrollment and the driving company or an employer won’t hire you if you don’t have this.
When Do You Need a CDL
- You will need a CDL if you will be driving a vehicle or truck and trailer combination with a GVWR weight of 26,000 or more;
- You will need a CDL if you will be transporting hazardous material, irrespective of the weight of the vehicle; and
- If you will be driving a vehicle such as bus carrying more than 16 passengers, you are required to have a CDL.
What are the CDL Classes and Endorsement You Can Apply
- Class A License – the examples of vehicles you can drive with Class A license is a combination of trucks and trailers; Class A CDL license is mandatory for the driver to have when the vehicle he will be operating has a GCWR 26,001 pounds or more and the GVWR of the towed unit is 10,001 pounds or more
- Class B License – the examples of vehicles you can operate with Class B license are dump trucks, box trucks, motor coaches, other straight vehicles; Class B license is required for the driver if he will be driving any vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more. A trailer may be towed if the GVWR of the trailer is 10,000 or less.
- Class C License – bus is such an example of a vehicle you drive with a Class C license. If you are a driver of a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers or a driver of a straight vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 pounds or less, you will need a Class C license.
For the endorsement, you can apply one or more of the following:
- (H) for Hazardous Material – if you are intending to apply for H endorsement, you have to undergo a background check.
- (N) for Tanker
- (P) for Passenger
- (T) for Double or Triple Trailer
- (X) for Combo Tanker/Hazardous Materials – a background check will be needed in order to apply for this endorsement.
While for the restrictions, there are:
- E restriction - will be indicated in your CDL license if you take the skill/road test in a CMV that has an automatic transmission, you are not allowed to drive a CMV with manual transmission.
- K restriction – are for intrastate drivers.
- L restriction – are for those drivers who don’t succeed passing the air brake knowledge test and don’t take the skills test in a vehicle with air brake system.
- L - Vehicles Without Air Brake Systems Only
- N - No Class A and B Passenger Vehicle
- O - No Tractor Trailer
- P - No passengers in CMV bus
- V – Medical Variance
- X - No cargo in CMV tank vehicle
- Z - No full air brake equipped CMV
- 7 - Off-Highway
Salary of Truck Driver in Alaska
If you are asking how much you can make being a truck driver working in Alaska, well, according to the latest December 26, 2019 report of Salary.com, the average is $58,976 per year, but since there is a deviation because of some factors, the salary may range from $52,078 to $67,626.
The factors that affect your wage may include the city or location where you are working, the additional qualifications you have as a truck driver, the certifications you possessed during your years in the profession and the length of work experience as a truck driver.
Contacting the Authorities
- Department of Administration
Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
1300 W. Benson Boulevard, Anchorage, AK 99503-3696
Phone: 269-5551; Toll-Free in Alaska: (855)269-5551; Outside of Alaska: (907)269-5551
- Department of Labor & Workforce Development
Labor Standards and Safety Division
Occupational Safety and Health
P.O. Box 111149, Juneau, AK 99811
Juneau Phone: (907) 465-4855
Anchorage Phone: (907) 269-4955
Fax: (907) 465-3584
To Make a Conclusion
There is a growing demand for talented truck drivers. The shipping industry and the small-to-mid-sized shippers are the businesses most in need of qualified drivers like you.
The growing demand is the result of retiring drivers and inadequate replacements. What does this mean for you? You have the best chance of landing a good-paying and long-lasting career in this industry, you just have to have the qualities and license in order to penetrate.
Alaska has the best opportunity for drivers. Take the CDL training and get a license, you are on the path of a rewarding career. We wish you good luck!