With the current increase in the number of trucking companies, demand for professional truck drivers is also increasing. This is as a result of the fact that there has been tremendous growth in population as well as increase in goods that needs to be transported from one place to another. However, for those of you who are considering a career in truck driving, you need to understand that this career calls for good driving skills to be able to manage heavy trucks on the road and be able to effectively avoid fatal accidents. This article contains information that will help you understand everything on how to become a truck driver:
A). Am I qualified to become a truck driver?
Well, there are some factors that are considered to determine if you are a qualified truck driver. There include the following:
CDL safety regulations require a driver to be at least 21 years of age, and to pass a physical examination every 2 years. Physical examination basically involves; good hearing, 70 degrees field vision in each eye, and 20/40 vision with glasses or collective lenses.
2. Criminal background
While companies differ when it comes to criminal background requirements, they are very strict on your records. They usually review felony on a case by case basis, but you need to know that a felon cannot secure a job for at least 7 to 10 years since their conviction. For this purpose, you need to keep your driving record clean because you can even be disqualified based on company policy.
3. Driving record
If your driving records have problems, you may not qualify for this job. Being a truck driver requires you to drive responsibly all through any climatic and traffic conditions. If your driving record is clean, which means you have never been accused of any misconduct, then you are good to go.
4. Educational background
Education level required in truck driving is usually high school or GED. Even though this is not a legal requirement, majority of truck driving schools and companies rarely accept people below these grades.
5. CDL license
To be a truck driver, you must have a CDL driving license by state in which you live in. The most important thing is to ensure that the license has a clean record. Drivers who intend to drive trucks carrying more than 26,000 pounds must obtain a commercial driving license from the state in which they live. All those drivers operating trucks that transport hazardous goods must have a CDL regardless of the truck size. In most countries, regular driving licenses are sufficient for driving small trucks.
B). is truck driving the right career for me?
1. High salary
The obvious reasons that entice people into this career are wonderful compensation. During your first year as a truck driver, you can earn an average of $40,000 per year, which is incredible for a starting salary. On your second year, you can manage to earn $50,000 to $55,000 per year.
Majority of trucking companies offer numerous benefits to their employees. As a truck driver, your benefits may include; health insurance, medication coverage, life insurance, retirement plans, and more. You may also benefit from paid holidays and vacation.
Trucking companies offer bonuses on certain cargo or distance traveled. You may also receive bonuses for safety records or for staying longer in the company. All these bonuses add up to your earnings and with time you will be on your way to financial freedom.
Unlike other careers, flexible schedule is available in this career. As a driver, you can decide on the types of transportation you wish to do, decide between local runs, long distances, or across the regions runs. This means that you can choose the one that suits you. In fact, some companies allow even children and pet to come along with you.
5. Changing scenery
As a trucker, you can see most of the country as you work, making this career the best compared to office careers where you spend the better part of your day locked inside a room. Scenery changes constantly and there are parts of interest to see as you travel. Is your office view as good as a trucker’s view? Well…i don’t think so. Therefore, becoming a truck driver is a great way to explore the world.
1. Time spent away from home
Lifestyle of a truck driver is not so appealing and it is the reason as to why many choose not to be truck drivers. This is because they are mostly on the road for weeks, depending on the company they work for. This can be hard especially if you have children for they rarely spend time with family and friends.
Truck drivers spend better days of their lives alone behind the wheel. This can be a challenge and can cause depression to some. However, some companies allow drivers to travel with someone if they wish.
C). How to get a CDL license:
To get a CDL license, you need to find out the tests you need to pass if any, and must be paid for. Prepare for general knowledge test by studying information which include space and speed management, shifting gears, vehicle control, hazardous material rules, communication, and skid control. You can purchase a practical test guide online or study materials from your DMV office.
2. Meet physical requirements
These requirements include having a social security number code, over 21 years of age; possess a valid federal medical card, and a driver’s license.
3. Examine the vehicle
Examine the truck you wish to drive to know all about it. If possible, ask your boss or the owner for all the information including its weight, and everything else to ensure you pass the test.
4. Apply for the CDL permit
If you pass all the tests, go ahead and apply for the permit in your local DMV office. Now you are capable of controlling a truck effectively.
Even if you apply for a CDL license, the best way to ensure you qualify is to enroll on CDL training. This training means that you can study in a trucking company facility for several weeks. The training is mainly geared on making sure you possess all the required skills required to effectively pass CDL tests and get class A CDL. Once you have class A, once you have that, you now qualify to be given a trainer and be trained on the job.
D). How to get your first truck driving job:
1. Enroll in CDL training
When you enroll in trucking company school, you are more likely to be employed by that company after you successfully complete your training. When training, you learn more about the job after which you will be employed as a permanent employee.
2. Get a CDL license
If you need to get a job as a truck driver, you need to get a class A, B, or C depending on the type of truck you wish to drive. This way you can secure a job easily.
3. Apply at trucking warehouse
You can take a job as a dispatcher in a warehouse and then apply for driving job when within the company when a vacancy arises. You will be considered first.
4. Apply jobs in numerous companies
Apply for truck driving jobs in any type of business, be it retail stores, lumber yards, overnight shipping, etc.
As with other careers, truck driving is not as easy as some think. However, if you come into this industry with open minds, knowing that there are pros and cons, you can easily succeed as a truck driver. This career is quite an adventure but also a challenge if you are up to accepting it. Therefore, do not take it lightly.