WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
Truck driving requires an exceptional amount of patience and perseverance, however it provides an exciting and a rewarding career.
But is this job right for you? There are a few things you need to consider before you start taking steps towards this new career. First, let’s weigh some pros and cons for being a truck driver :
What could be better than making money without long term studying, as getting a CDL and initial training could be done in several weeks.
The truck driver salaries are fairly good.
The freedom – one of the great advantages of being a truck driver is that there is no one to watch you. As a truck driver you can plan your own routes and have full control over how you use your road time.
You will be doing a lot of traveling which is a great chance to see many beautiful places. This feeling of being an explorer is very freeing and personally rewarding if you like to experience new things.
One of the disadvantages is the stressful situations that you are going to experience as a truck driver. Stress is an inevitable thing in this job. There are a lot of stress factors like: deadlines, delays, bad directions, traffic, long separation from family and friends, and you have to stay calm and learn how to handle such things.
Most of the time you will be driving which means that you will spend many hours just sitting and driving with almost no movement. You will have to figure out an exercising schedule to help stay in good shape.
You may have less time to be with your family and friends.
Considering the above, ask yourself if truck driving worth it?
If you answered YES, then keep reading this article as it will teach you exactly what you need to do next.
GET YOUR CDL
The requirements may vary from state to state, however there are some qualification baselines we thought we can list here
You must be at least 21 years of age, however there may be exceptions in some states.
You will need to provide proof of identity and social security number (check your state’s requirements).
You will need a proof of state and US residency, some states require you to have been a resident of the state for several months before you become eligible apply.
ENROLL IN A CDL TRAINING PROGRAM
In order to get a CDL, you should complete a training course at a certified CDL truck driver training school. CDL training programs provide a mix of classroom studies and hands-on driving training where you will gain your first bits of practice driving commercial vehicles. Here will learn about laws and regulations related to truck driving.
*picture from www.parkercdl.com
It is critical to choose the right truck driving school as your future success will depend on what you lear there.
To find a certified CDL school in your area you may search this directory. When you select a school, make sure to do some research first. Read some reviews before you commit to enrolling. If they have a google or facebook page, there should be reviews from other students.
TAKE ONLINE PRACTICE TESTS
Taking online tests will help you prep yourself for CDL test. These will help you get the right expectations from the CDL exam and will help you gain more confidence and understanding of your current level. You may find some online practice tests HERE.
TAKE THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY REGULATION (FMCSR) EXAM
There are two parts of a CDL exam which you will have to pass, the written test and the skills test.
The written test is composed of 50 general knowledge questions and the passing score is 80%.
The skills test involves driving a commercial vehicle under the supervision of a state licensed examiner.
Please note that some equipment requires special endorsements. You may find out more information about CDL endorsements HERE.
FINDING A CDL DRIVER JOB
The bigger companies are looking for experienced truck drivers. The reason is that there is a higher accidents rate amongst starters. Statistically, new drivers carry with them an increased risk of being involved in an accident.
Finding your first truck driver job may be challenging. However, there are workarounds out there, and here is why.
The truck drivers are currently in high demand. As the driver shortage continues to grow, some trucking companies have reduced their minimum hiring standards. Many of them even hire entry level students and if you don’t yet have a CDL some of the companies have their own CDL Training Programs in place.
Below is a list with some companies which hire CDL drivers with less or no experience. This may change in time, however it’s a good start.
Pam Transport/ Roehl Transport/ CR England/ Swift Transportation/ CRST/ KLLM/ Knight/ TransAm/ US Xpress/ Stevens Transport/ Maverick/ Covenant/ Schneider
Also keep in mind that your CDL School may have contracted some of these big players already and they should be able to help you to find a job. Obviously the pay is lower for starters, but you may want to temporary accept this in the exchange for gaining experience.
WHAT IS THE CDL SCHOOL TUITION COST?
The costs of CDL Training Programs average around $6500.
WHAT IS THE TRUCK DRIVER SALARY?
Most drivers are paid by the mile, some drivers are paid by the hour or by the load, however most drivers are paid by the mile. The mile rates depend on driver’s experience, the region they work in and the endorsement required for the equipment.
On average truck drivers make around $43,000 to $73,500 per year. This makes truck driving job really attractive and enticing.
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