How to Become a Truck Driver

Truck drivers are some of the most essential workers in America. They deliver our goods, food, and fuel—everything we rely on to live our daily lives. With truck drivers being integral for the smooth running of the country, it is no surprise they are in high demand.
This article will provide you with all of the crucial considerations concerning becoming a truck driver so you can decide if it is the right job for you.

Specifics of the Role

Truck drivers operate large vehicles to haul goods and materials across long distances. During their shifts they must adhere to strict regulations regarding hours of operation and mandatory rest periods. They also need to maintain a clean driving record and undergo regular physical examinations. In addition to these requirements, truck drivers must be able to load and unload their vehicles safely. They also need to know how to navigate using maps and GPS devices. With so many responsibilities, it's no wonder that being a truck driver is not for everyone. But for those who are up for the challenge, it can be a rewarding career.

Skills Needed to Become a Truck Driver

Truck drivers need a wide range of skills to safely and efficiently operate their vehicles. Skills that are beneficial to the role include:
  • Strong driving skills.
  • The ability to perform essential maintenance of a car (checking fluid levels, tire pressure, etc.)
  • Able to follow directions either via map or satellite navigation
  • Able to communicate effectively with colleagues and customers
  • Knowledge of traffic signs and road laws
  • Rapid reflexes and a high level of concentration
  • Excellent time-management skills
  • Long-term focus

Truck Driver Salary

Truck driving may not be the simplest or most thrilling job, but it can be gratifying. Earning an average income of $42,000 to $62,000 per year, truck drivers can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. The salary of a truck driver can vary depending on experience and location, so make sure you research the market before you start your journey.

How To Become a Truck Driver

To become a truck driver, you'll need to meet specific conditions. Below are the requirements necessary to start your career.
Before you begin
Graduate high school education or study for a GED. Most employers will expect you to have completed one of the two if you want to be considered for a job. Also, the law requires you to be 21 before becoming a truck driver. So while you wait, be sure to obtain your state driver's license. Depending on your state, it will cost you between $20 - $90.
Training
After completing your initial education and having a state driver's license, you can start your formal training. Many institutions offer the training you need to become a truck driver, so compare offerings from colleges, private specialty schools, and private truck companies. Make sure whichever you proceed with provides all requirements needed to meet your state's BMV or DMV regulations.
CDL
A commercial driver's license (CDL) is a legal requirement that is needed to become a truck driver. There are three different categories of this license (A, B, and C). However, CDL-A is the most versatile of the three and the one you should go for if you are looking at driving large loads.
Getting your CDL requires the following steps:
  • Complete a driver training form
  • Submit the CDL Application and pay the fee
  • Verify your identity and social security number and prove your state & US residency
  • Submit relevant medical forms
  • Complete and pass an eye test
  • Complete and pass a knowledge exam
  • Get your Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP)
  • Book your CDL road skills exam 14 days after gaining your CLP
  • Pass a pre-trip inspection
  • Using your vehicle, pass the road skills exam
  • Once you have passed the exam, you can pay the fees for your CDL
At this point, it is essential to contact your state BMV or DMV to check if you need an endorsement code for your license. An endorsement code permits you to drive a specific vehicle.
Apply for jobs
After completing all the steps and gaining your CDL, you can start applying for jobs in the industry. Many employers will expect you to complete a company-specific training program to learn relevant company information and regulations before you can start driving for them. Initial training can take up to a month to complete.

Conclusion

Truck driving can be a very rewarding career. Not only do truck drivers enjoy a good salary, but they also get to see the country and work with some great people. If you're interested in becoming a truck driver, make sure to get your CDL and start looking for jobs. With the right skills and attitude, you'll be on your way to a great career behind the wheel of a big rig.

FAQ

How do I get started as a truck driver?
To start your career as a truck driver, you will need to complete all the requirements starting with your high school diploma or GED. After your initial qualifications are achieved, you can continue and complete your training, enabling you to apply for your commercial driver's license (CDL). After obtaining your CDL you will be able to start looking for truck driver jobs.
Do truckers make good money?
It is a known fact that truck drivers make good money. However, the amount of money you make will differ depending on many factors, including your state, the number of hours you drive, and the type of vehicle you drive.
What are some tips for succeeding as a truck driver?
Being a truck driver can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with its share of challenges. Make sure you are well-prepared before starting your trucking career and be prepared to face the rigors of the road. Remember: safety is your number one priority, and following all safety guidelines will help keep everyone safe. Trucking can be a very fruitful career, but make sure you are prepared for the long haul by getting a good education and securing the proper licensing.
Related Articles:
  • How to Become a Speech Pathologist
  • How to Become a Librarian
  • How to Become a Life Coach
  • How to Become a Firefighter