Are you looking to hit the refresh button on your career? Have you thought about becoming a truck driver? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are expected to be nearly 100,000 new jobs in the industry in upcoming years. If trucking appeals to you, use the following tips to transition to your new career.
Decide Whether Trucking Is for You
Truck driving is a great fit for many people, but is it for you? Brett Aquila, who has been a professional driver for decades, said about his career, "I've loved the adventure, I've loved not having a boss looking over my shoulder, and I've loved the tranquility of my home on the road. I've gotten to know this country from one end to the other, I've gotten to know myself inside and out, and I would say there are no greater blessings on Earth than to have accomplished those two things…"
Trucking takes stamina, a safety-conscious attitude, and the ability to be by yourself for long periods of time. If that sounds like you, the road may be calling your name.
Find a Truck Driving School
The first thing you need to do is obtain your commercial driver's license (CDL). When you're looking to learn how to drive a truck, there are two types of schools: company-sponsored and private.
The advantage of company-sponsored schools is that they often require little or no money upfront, but they may take tuition payments out of your pay after you have your license and begin driving for the company. Once you complete your training, you'll be committed to working for that company for the first part of your trucking career. There are many reputable trucking companies that have their own schools, including Swift and Knight Transportation.
Although you will have to pay all your own tuition costs if you attend a private school, this type of trucking education offers its own advantages. The pace is often a little slower; the focus is on training you to be a safe and skilled driver, not on getting you on the road as quickly as possible. The cost of tuition varies widely from school to school, so be sure to do thorough research before you commit yourself to any program.
Decide What Type of Trucking Job You Want
There are several types of trucking jobs:
- Over the Road (OTR): OTR trucking jobs are otherwise known as long-haul truck driving. It can take you away from home for weeks at a time, but it is ideal for anyone who has an adventurous spirit and doesn't mind solitude.
- Local: These pickup and delivery drivers stay within a limited area and have more contact with customers than long-haul drivers.
- Specialized: These truck drivers take care of oversized or oddly shaped loads. If you want a truck driving job of this nature, you might need extra training.
- Hazardous materials: Drivers who transport hazardous loads need extra education about what they'll be hauling so that everyone stays safe.
No matter what type of driving you do, you may have the option of being an Owner Operator. You must buy your own equipment and incur greater expenses, but you will enjoy more freedom than an employee.
Search for a Job
If you attend a private driving school, you'll be responsible for finding your own job after you graduate. There are many online resources, such as CDLjobs.com, where you can search for job openings. You may join a company that will pair you with a mentor for a while so you can gain experience in a comfortable and safe environment. Before long, you'll be on the road on your own and loving your new career.
Ready to start out on a great new job? Try trucking!