So, you want to be a commercial truck driver?
With an average of 231,100 job openings every year until 2030, the industry is on an upwards trajectory.
Truck driver training may be obtained via a variety of avenues, including community colleges, private driving schools, and trucking firms themselves. Truck drivers are often compensated based on the number of miles they travel for their employers.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to become a truck driver.
Truck Driving Career: The Basics
As a truck driver, you’ll need to learn more than just the regulations of the road, and you’ll need to put in a lot of time and effort. Aside from vehicle safety checks, you’ll learn how to organize and manage lengthy journeys, as well as how to properly secure cargo.
Customer service skills are essential to your profession, even if you’re often driving on your own. Communication with your dispatcher and the clients who receive goods is a major part of the job.
As much as 14-hour workdays are the norm for truck drivers. And, based on a survey, the majority of respondents indicated they were regularly exposed to inclement weather and had to meet a lot of deadlines while working.
How to Become a Truck Driver 101
Aspiring truck drivers may follow these steps to get their foot in the door. You’ll need to become a licensed professional truck driver by passing the necessary exams.
Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) for a professional organization will need you to meet certain standards. First, you must be at least 21 years of age to participate.
It is mandatory for all professional truck drivers to be at least 21 years old in order to cross state boundaries. Although you may get a CDL at the age of 18, you can only drive within the state of your CDL’s issued jurisdiction, and most trucking businesses only employ CDL holders who are at least 21 years of age.
The First Step: Pass Your Regular Driver’s License Examination
Before pursuing a CDL, you must have a valid driver’s license in your state of residence.
While studying for your CDL, you may be able to begin your career as a delivery truck driver. Driver’s license costs in the United States may range from $20 to $90.
Obtain a High School Diploma or a GED
To get a job in long-haul transportation, most businesses need a high school certificate or GED.
For as little as $80 to $140, you may achieve your GED in four months in most states.
Get Professional Training
There are a variety of places where you may get the training you need to sit for the CDL test, including community institutions, private driving schools, and trucking firms.
Make sure you are aware of your state’s BMV or DMV requirements regarding auditing and accreditation programs.
A year-long driver education course is not uncommon. The cost of private and community college education may vary from $1,000 to $10,000.
Students enrolled in truck driving programs may be eligible for financial help from community colleges. Even a one-year degree in truck driving or commercial freight business may be available at certain schools. To start driving, you don’t have to do this, but if you want to go to college, it’s a terrific alternative.
A four- to a six-week program sponsored by a business typically costs roughly $6,000 to run. Graduates who continue with the organization for a certain period of time sometimes get discounts, financing alternatives, or even a complete refund of their tuition.
Get Your CDL
A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a must. Depending on the size and weight of your vehicle, CDLs may be classified as A, B, or C. Large-truck drivers should consider obtaining a CDL-A, which is the most adaptable.
A license endorsement code may also be necessary. School buses and tankers need endorsements in order to lawfully convey their cargo.
To further understand the various classes and endorsement codes, check out this explanation from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, you should also check with your state’s BMV or DMV to be sure.
Many states’ BMV or DMV systems charge a fee for a CDL application, test, and license. The licensing fee, which may cost anywhere from $20 to $120, is the most costly.
And, if you’re in Ontario, you can make use of this great resource: https://www.apnatoronto.com/ontario-class-a-truck-driver-licence-practice-test/.
Now, you need to address any issues that may prevent you from obtaining a CDL. Even if you complete all of the above qualifications, there are a number of things that might impede your intentions to get a commercial driver’s license.
They consist of:
- Prescriptions for certain drugs
- Sleeping disorders, hypertension, and diabetes
- Physical handicaps like missing limbs or fingers
- DUI accusations
There are several medical illnesses and physical limitations that may need a doctor’s letter declaring that you may safely operate commercial vehicles despite your condition.
Even if you have a criminal record, a felony conviction may not mean the end of your career.
Keep in mind that getting a CDL does not include a drug test. However, in order to be considered for a position as a commercial driver, you’ll get drug tested.
In short, you’ll be subjected to random drug testing once you’re recruited. Also, drug testing is essential if you’ve been in an accident.
Therefore, be wary of casual drug usage, as it nearly often catches up with you when you return to work after a vacation or a brief break at home.
Find Job Placement Assistance
These services are available at certain truck driving schools.
Employers and career mentors may be found via truck driving organizations. The American Trucking Associations (ATA), Women in Trucking (WIT), and many more.
Completing the Finishing Program of Your Employer
In most cases, new workers are required to attend an in-house training program.
These training sessions, known as driver finishing programs, expose you to the vehicles, supplies, and equipment important to the organization. The course itself may run for three to four weeks and include a portion of time spent driving under the supervision of a professional.
Truck Driving: The Career Breakdown
To become a commercial truck driver, there are numerous steps you need to take, as well as a bit of a monetary upfront investment. Yet, once you’ve done all the steps we’ve covered in this guide on how to become a truck driver, you’re all set.
And, if you’re interested in learning more about different careers and their trajectories, you should check out our career section.