How to Get an Alaska CDL License

All individuals who are interested in becoming a professional driver need to receive a commercial driver’s license from the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles. All professional drivers with a commercial driver’s license from another state, who are transferring to a permanent position or will live in Alaska, need to transfer the CDL license as well. The following is an in-depth guide for those who need to obtain a CDL license in Alaska.

CDL License Requirements
In order to apply for a CDL in Alaska, the driver will need to provide adequate proof of birth date and identity. All drivers who plan to drive only within Alaska must be at least 19 years of age; but, those who plan to drive inside and outside Alaska must be at least 21 years old. With the application, the driver’s Social Security number and medical card will need to be provided. To be eligible, individuals must possess a clean driving record and have no prior convictions in specified crimes.

There are three distinct classes of commercial driver’s licenses in the state, much like the rest of the United States. Class A refers to any combination of vehicles that weigh 26,001 or more pounds. Class B includes any single vehicle that weigh 26,001 or more pounds. Class C involves any single or combination of vehicles that do not meet the aforementioned definitions, but are designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or designated for carrying hazardous materials.

CDL License Training
There are no state standards in place that require Alaska CDL license training for applicants. The law only requires that drivers take and pass a CDL written and driving test. Longer-combination vehicle drivers, however, must receive training in certain qualifications, driver wellness, service hours, and whistleblower protection. That being said, new commercial drivers are going to need to know a large set of skills that will be mastered easier through training programs. Formal training ups the chances of passing the tests the first time.

Depending upon the vehicle that the driver desires to operate, there are several different courses available to new CDL drivers. Some of them are for over-the-road truck driving, school bus driving, passenger bus driving, or heavy equipment operators, such as for logging trucks. Many companies will train their own employees, while others may need to find courses at private driving schools. The Center for Employment Education offers a range of classes, especially for those interested in truck driving.

Along with formal training of some kind, drivers should make sure to pick up a CDL driver’s manual from their local Division of Motor Vehicles office. Much of what the individual will know in order to pass the written test can be obtained from the manual. Alaska’s manual includes explanations for all the laws, procedures, rules, and technicalities for obtaining a CDL. To pass the road test, skills will need to be gathered from both the manual and plenty of practice on the road through training. It is recommended that drivers take the CDL practice tests in the manual and find others online in order to be prepared and increase the likelihood of passing.

CDL License Process
Drivers that are seeking a CDL license in Alaska must first fill out an application and provide the necessary proof of identity. In addition, drivers who are planning to haul hazardous materials must receive a background check from the Transportation Security Administration. Once the application has been accepted, the drivers need to take the written test. It includes general knowledge questions that cover rules of the road, commercial vehicle laws, safety procedures, and basic knowledge of vehicle operations. The test may also include any other technical areas and endorsements the driver is seeking.

Once the written tests have been passed, a road test is the next step towards gaining a CDL license. The first section of the road test is for pre-trip inspection. It is recommended that this portion be taken seriously and cautiously. The test is not timed, so it is beneficial to slow down to make sure all is covered properly. After passing that part, the road test includes a basic skills test, which covers basic maneuvers like parallel parking, alley docking, straight line backing, and the forward stop. The final portion of the test is the actual driving test along a determined route, while the examiner checks for more complex driving maneuvers.

CDL License Cost
A basic Alaska CDL license cost adds up to being $100. In addition, there is a road test fee that costs $25. The test fee is non-refundable, which means that the amount will not be returned if the driver does not pass the road test with flying colors. Therefore, it is important to be completely prepared before scheduling the road test. Good luck!