The trucking industry is an integral part of the U.S. economy. In fact, trucks move 71% of all freight in the country.
This puts truck drivers in high demand. For people looking for a lucrative career, trucking offers many opportunities.
An attractive element of being a truck driver is you don’t have to spend money on college. However, there are several steps you need to take, including specialized schooling.
If you’ve been considering trucking, keep reading. We’re going over how to become a trucker and start your career.
Trucking isn’t for everyone. It requires a certain type of schedule and is very demanding.
Speaking with experienced truck drivers is a great way to get a firsthand account of the trucking experience. You can also get literature about the job from local trucking schools.
It’s important to consider the risk of danger associated with driving a semi-truck. Don’t let this scare you away, but keep it in mind while making your decision.
One of the benefits of becoming a trucker is you’ll be able to make a good salary right away. Look into what local and national companies pay new drivers and the benefits that come with the job.
Once you’ve decided trucking is the right move for you, it’s time to review the requirements. These are both legal and physical.
Each state has its own qualifications for truckers. However, in most states you must be 21 years old and eligible to work in the U.S. If you’re not a U.S. citizen and have a revoked registration, there’s a process in place to help you renew it.
It’s important you have a good driving record. Don’t worry about something minor like a parking violation. However, if you have serious violations like driving under the influence or reckless driving on your record, a trucking school probably won’t accept you.
Truckers need to have a high school diploma or GED. Even if a trucking school doesn’t require this, companies may be hesitant to hire you without it.
If you meet all the qualifications, the next step is to register for a truck driving school. Look for a local institution with good credentials.
You’ll need to pay tuition when entering a school. Most schools offer some sort of financial assistance if you have trouble coming up with the money.
Depending on what your goals are, the school will recommend an appropriate program. Some only last a month and others may take a year to complete.
Trucking school includes both classroom and hands-on training. This training prepares you for getting your commercial driver’s license (CDL), which all truck drivers must carry.
You’ll end your education by taking the test for your CDL. This is a state exam that involves a written and road test.
Your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can provide you with a CDL manual. This covers everything you need to know about obtaining your license. It also has the information you’ll need to know for your exam, so study it carefully.
The written portion of the test contains questions about trucking laws, procedures, and safety measures. During the road test, you’ll need to drive a commercial vehicle while a licensed examiner rides with you.
Keep in mind there are different endorsements for operating a commercial vehicle. The endorsement needed to drive semi-trucks is different than the one needed to drive school buses or operate vehicles carrying hazardous waste. The DMV can tell you which one you need.
Once you’ve obtained your CDL, you can now start actively looking for trucking companies hiring new drivers.
There’s a good chance the trucking school you graduated from offers job placement services. This is a good way to get your foot in the door.
Job placement services offer both local and national positions. If you’ve been wanting to relocate, this may be your chance.
If your school doesn’t provide job placement, you’ll need to reach out to trucking companies on your own. Make sure you research the reputation and track record of any company you apply to.
It’s also important to make your career goals clear to potential companies. You may start as an entry-level employee but move up in the company quickly if your qualifications are a good match.
Once you’ve accepted a job with a trucking company, you’ll need to go through their orientation program. After that, you’ll have to perform on-the-job training.
Orientation covers information about the company, including its core values and policies. Expect this program to last several days.
Most trucking companies require a drug test at this time. You may also need to undergo a physical exam.
Once orientation is over, you’ll start company training. This will include riding along with an experienced driver so they can show you routes, procedures, and any other pertinent information related to the job.
After you’ve finished training, you’ll have to take another road test. That’s right – most trucking companies require a road test before you get to go out on your own.
You may also need to take another written test. This will cover company policies and procedures.
Once you’ve passed these tests, it’s time to start working. This is the beginning of your career, so learn as much as you can and enjoy the ride.
Down the road, you may decide to buy a vehicle and become an independent trucker. This gives you the ability to work your own schedule and travel where you want.
If you’re ready to live an exciting life while making a great salary, trucking may be the perfect career for you. Start your journey today and you’ll be on the road in no time.
Follow these steps on how to become a trucker to ensure you get the best knowledge and experience possible.
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