Trucking is an industry that supports a multitude of business markets. The job of a truck driver is not something that you just come across and sign up for. It is something that does require quite a few steps to it.
What is a truck driver?
Going by the strictest definition, a truck driver is any person that is mentally and physically capable of driving a vehicle under the classification of ‘truck’. They are normally hired to transport a variety of goods or even personnel. It all greatly depends on who they work for and what their field of expertise is.
Usually, there are truck drivers that are good for local distances and there are those that work for national coverage deliveries. The requirements for either are not that different but they do have their differences.
In terms of skills, truck drivers are usually expected to be able to operand and maintain their vehicle or the vehicle that is assigned to them. They need to keep logs of their schedules, destinations, and what they are carrying. They also need to make sure that everything is signed for when the goods are both picked up and delivered.
Ultimately, the company that they work for will determine any additional job descriptions and skills that would be needed for a delivery.
What sort of education is needed for local truck driving jobs?
This is usually where most things start. For a local trucking company (depending where local is), an education is not something that is always required. Although, being a high school graduate is always a good starting point. For a majority of US trucking companies, they at least require a GED.
Once you get your educational requirements sorted out, it would be time to get licensing for the class of vehicle that you want to drive. This early on it would be important for you to understand that the license required to drive a regular car is different from the one that you would need to drive a truck. While there are trucking companies that train drivers, a lot of the smaller companies expect their drivers to come with the necessary licensing and experience.
How to Land a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License)?
This depends primarily on the state that you are in, if you are in the USA. There are several states, like Ohio, that will require around 160 or so hours of training time both in a classroom environment and hand-on training. First of all, it would important to go down to your local doctor and obtain a clean bill of health. Most laws will require truck drivers to have near perfect vision and good health.
Those that plan on applying for a CDL need to be, at the very least, 21 years of age. They also need to undergo a duly accredited CDL training program. Normally, companies will require their drivers to take refresher courses. This ensures that all driver be highly aware of any new rules and regulations regarding wide load vehicles.
Once the classroom training is done, there will normally be a written exam of at least 30 questions. The test usually will require a score of at least 80% in order to pass. From then, there will be a hands-on exam with an instructor in the vehicle with you. You can say that it is much like getting a normal driver’s license except the vehicle you will be driving and tested with will be a LOT larger.
Once you pass both with flying colors, it would be good to get registered with the proper channels like the National Driver Register.
Landing the Job
Once you get the necessary skills and licensing, it would be time to look around for trucking companies around your area. Normally, there will be job ads in your local newspaper or even through the company’s website. Each company will have their own set of requirements for the drivers that they want to hire.
They can require the drivers to have their own vehicles or at least have the clearance for the sort of vehicles in their fleet. When then offer employment, try to determine if their packages or salary offerings is competitive enough for you. If you do think that they are a good fit, send in your application and wait to be notified.
Be prepared to undergo testing on several levels. Trucking companies have a very strict no drug policy. So you had best expect to submit yourself to a battery of physical examinations like blood and urine exams. These sorts of exams will be a regular thing in your life if you aim to be a long distance truck driver. It is all to ensure that you are optimized for the road and will be less of a risk. After all, they will want to keep you safe for future jobs.
Once that’s over, you will be handed a contract that you can peruse. If everything is to your liking, you can sign up.
You are now a truck driver.
While the steps to becoming a truck driver may seem a tad intimidating to some, it shouldn’t put you or anyone off the scent. Being a truck driver is one of the more fulfilling jobs that a person can have. If you think that movies and TV shows have glamorized the lifestyle and the actual life of a truck driver isn’t anything like that, you would genuinely be surprised! We are not going to lie and say that there are no hardships that come with being a truck driver.
However, this is one profession that not only provides a massive service to others and the country’s economy. This is a profession that provides a wholly unique way of earning a living. Before you choose to pursue this profession, it would be important to determine what your priorities are. It wouldn’t do any good for you and the company you join if you find out too late that you would rather be somewhere else—instead of behind the wheel, facing a wide open road.