Do you want to be your own boss? Do you love the idea of being able to explore the open roads? If so, becoming a truck driver may be the perfect career for you! In this blog post, we will discuss everything that you need to know before making the switch to this exciting and rewarding career. We will cover topics such as licensing requirements, necessary training, and what to expect on the job. So if you are considering becoming a truck driver, keep reading!
A career as a truck driver can be gratifying, but not everyone is cut out for it. Most people have wondered about a trucking career and what it would be like to live on the road, see sites across the country, meet different people along the way, and enjoy sunrises and sunsets from coast to coast.
However, before starting a trucking career, it’s advisable to consider what it entails first. You need to know everything there is to know about trucking, other than simply how to drive and what it costs to get a CDL.
So what do you need to know before becoming a trucker? Read on.
How Much Can First Year Truck Drivers Make?
Trucking companies will always need drivers and are willing to pay handsomely for their services. This is especially true right now and in 2021 the median pay for Heavy and Tractor-Trailer truck drivers was $48,310 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number though will vary widely depending on various conditions such as the type of truck and cargo you are certified to drive as well as the location where you are based.
For instance, according to Indeed, the average base truck driver salary in California is $74,827.
First year truck driving salary in California is slightly below that rate at $70,259 on average, while truckers with more than a decade of experience average as much as $84,490!
In addition to a good salary, most trucking companies also offer benefits such as health insurance, 401(k) plans, and paid vacation days. Some even offer tuition reimbursement for those who want to further their education while on the job.
How To Find Truck Driving Jobs
Truck driving jobs are available all across the country. You can find them by searching online job boards, contacting trucking companies directly, or through word-of-mouth.
To get started, create a list of trucking companies that you would like to work for. Then, visit their websites and see if they have any current openings. If they do, apply for the position!
You can also search online job boards such as Indeed or Monster. Just enter “truck driver” into the search bar and browse through the results. When you find a job that interests you, simply click on it and follow the instructions to apply.
Most CDL training courses and truck driving schools offer career assistance and have a network of partners that are eager to hire students that have successfully completed their programs.
How To Know If Trucking Is For You
The best way to find out if a trucking career is for you is to read or talk to an experienced truck driver. Trucking is a way of life, and it must fit your personality and lifestyle to do it successfully. It’s not an easy job. So many people without a passion for trucking drop out along the way because they lack self-discipline and cannot cope with the long hours.
As a long-haul driver, you will spend most of your time on the road. However, you will also meet many people along the way, see a lot of famous sites along your route, and enjoy many priceless moments like beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
Many of your questions about trucking careers will not feature in your tests, and recruiters will not discuss them with you. But you can learn more by going through trucking materials, blogs, articles, directories, and online chats.
Will Your Enjoy Life on the Road?
It’s nearly impossible to know whether you will enjoy life on the road as a trucker if you have no prior experience. However, you can talk extensively with a professional driver to learn about the hours, what it’s like to drive through bad weather, food and accommodation options on the road, what it’s like meeting different people along the way, and what to do about entertainment.
Expect to put in long days if you wish to earn enough money as a tucker. You will also struggle to meet deadlines and find creative ways to rest, freshen up, and find entertainment. You will also spend a lot of your time away from loved ones, especially as a long-haul driver.
Sometimes you will have to drive through bad weather to meet your deadlines. Of course, as a beginner, you will shut down more often during bad weather, but over time, you will get used to driving through it.
Trucking careers are exciting and rewarding. However, it would be best to learn before becoming a truck driver. But, if it’s something you will enjoy, then go for it.
How to Become a Truck Driver
Most companies may require drivers to have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. You also need a CDL (commercial driving license). Qualifications for obtaining a CDL license vary between states but generally include passing your knowledge and driving tests.
Below are the basic steps to follow before you become a truck driver:
First, you need to find a truck driving school, either a paid CDL training program or a private truck driving school. School typically lasts one month.
During the initial schooling phase, you need to pass a DOT physical before going to the DMV for a series of written exams for your CDL permit and endorsements. After passing your tests, you can get on the highway with a certified instructor.
After learning how to drive, back up, park, and do pre-trip inspections, you can take your driving and pre-trip inspection exams. You will receive your CDL license after passing the two exams and can start working as a professional driver.
If you attended a CDL training program, you would head out with a trainer who will supervise your driving for weeks or months before you can go on solo trips and become a full-fledged truck driver.
Is Truck Driving Worth It?
That's really going to be a personal decision that you need to decide for yourself. The trucking profession is a very tough but extremely rewarding experience for many folks. However, whether or not a career in truck driving is a good fit for your skills, talents, and temperament is something that you'll have to decide for yourself.
Here are some things you can do to learn more about the trucking profession:
If you are considering a career as a trucker there are a lot of online communities where you can go and ask questions from current truckers. You may find some brutally honest answers here about both the benefits of trucking as well as the pitfalls that you can make if you start things off from an educated perspective.
Additionally, you can always contact a local truck driving school or even one of the major trucking companies to ask their recruiters any questions that you might have about starting a career in truck driving.