The supply chain would be incomplete without truck drivers, who transport everything from food to automobiles across the country. American truckers hauled 11.8 billion tonnes of cargo in 2019, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). An average salary of $48,710 was recorded for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in 2020 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Truck driver training can be obtained through a variety of avenues, including community colleges, private driving schools, and trucking companies themselves. Mileage-based compensation is common in the trucking industry. If you have a high school diploma or its equivalent and a commercial driver’s license, you can begin working when you are 21 years old (CDL). Experts tell us the job is not for everyone, however.
In-Depth Analysis of Career
A few weeks or months of training are required to become a truck driver, and you’ll learn more than just the rules of the road. Aside from vehicle safety checks, you’ll learn how to organize and manage long trips, as well as how to properly secure cargo.
Even though you’ll be doing a lot of driving on your own, you’ll also need to be able to work well with others. You’ll have to communicate with both your dispatcher and the people who will be receiving your shipments as part of your job duties.
It is not uncommon for truck drivers to put in 14-hour days. 84% of truck drivers reported working more than 40 hours a week. According to the vast majority, they were frequently exposed to the elements and had to meet tight deadlines while working.
How to Become a Truck Driver in Easy Steps
Be aware that you must be at least eighteen years old before you can apply to become a truck driver. You must be 21 years old or older to legally operate a commercial motor vehicle.
Some federally run pilot programs and military programs, however, allow younger drivers to get a learner’s permit as early as the age of 18.
Step1: Pass Your State’s Driver’s License Exam
Before pursuing a CDL, you must hold 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 fees in the United States range from $20 to $90.
Step2: Get a diploma from high school or the GED
Long-haul employers in the United States expect applicants to have a high school diploma or GED credential, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It costs between $80 and $140 to obtain your GED in the majority of states within four months.
Step3: Begin Your Professional Education and Development Journey Today!
There are a variety of places where you can get the training you need to sit for the CDL exam, including community colleges, private driving schools, and trucking companies. Make sure you are aware of your state’s BMV or DMV regulations regarding auditing and accrediting programs.
A year-long driver education course is not uncommon. It can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 to attend a private school or community college program.
Students enrolled in truck driving programs may be eligible for financial aid from community colleges. Even a one-year degree in truck driving or commercial freight business may be offered by some schools. This isn’t required to get behind the wheel, but it’s a good option if you plan on attending college.
A four- to a six-week program sponsored by a business typically costs around $6,000 to run. Graduates who stay with the company for a certain period of time often receive discounts, financing options, or even a full reimbursement of their tuition.
Step4: Earn Your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
At the very least, you’ll need a CDL. Depending on the dimensions and weight of your vehicle, you’ll need a different kind of CDL (A, B, or C). When it comes to hauling heavy cargo, drivers have the most options with the CDL-A.
A license endorsement code may also be required. School buses and tankers require endorsements in order to legally transport their cargo. Different classes and endorsement codes are explained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, you should also check with your state’s BMV or DMV to make sure.
Many states’ BMV or DMV systems charge a fee for CDL applications, tests, and licenses. For the most expensive fee, the license fee, you can expect to pay between $20 and $120.
Step5: Obtain Assistance in Finding a New Job
Employer job boards and career counseling are both available at some truck driving schools. Members of truck driving associations can also find employment opportunities and career mentors through these organizations. Many professional organizations exist for women in trucks, such as the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and Women in Trucking International (WTI).
Step6: Complete the Finishing Program Set Up by Your Employer
Newly licensed employees are often required to go through an internal training program at their workplaces. The vehicles, materials, and equipment relevant to the business are all introduced in these training sessions, which are sometimes referred to as “driver finishing programs.” There is a period of supervised driving at the end of the course, which may last for three to four weeks.