How To Become A Truck Driver
Truck drivers are one of the driving forces behind our nation’s economy. In order to get products from one city to another, we need people to transport them there – and truck drivers are often the people who do this job. As a truck driver, you will travel across the nation, delivering goods to where they need to go. This is a job that requires truck driving school and a commercial driver’s license.
Why Become a Truck Driver
As a truck driver, you will spend your time exploring thousands of miles of open roads across the United States. You will travel from city to city, delivering products that are needed by the citizens of our country. Your job might require traveling within one city, or it may require traveling for several miles.
Some truck drivers travel out of state in order to deliver their freight, or perhaps even to Canada or Mexico. You may travel the same routes regularly. Other drivers switch their routes often, depending on the needs of the company. This is communicated by your employer and the routes you are assigned when you take on your job.
You will inspect your truck before and after your trip, reporting any problems with your truck to your employer. It is important to be safe on the road, following all laws and being alert at all times. You may be required to load and unload cargo. This requires heavy lifting.
You will need to know what types of materials you are carrying and how to handle it properly. You will need to communicate with your employer while on the road, telling them about traffic accidents or detours. You must keep written records of your driving hours.
Rest periods are required while driving. On long runs, two drivers may work together to complete a delivery. Drivers may sleep in the cab of the truck. Truck drivers may earn certifications to deliver certain types of freight, such as hazardous materials. Truck drivers are required to undergo randomized drug testing.
Truck Drivers should have the following qualities and skills:
- Good driving skills
- Ability to follow directions and maps
- Able to lift heavy objects
- Physical stamina
- Hand eye coordination
- Attention to detail
Truck Driver Work Environment
Truck drivers drive their vehicles for many hours during the day. These drivers can be away for days or even weeks at a time, driving long distances to deliver their cargo to its final destination. Drivers may travel inside of a city or local area, but often get put on an assignment that takes them out of state.
Much of their day is spent in solitude, driving their truck. Once they get to their destination they may need to load or unload cargo. There is risk of traffic accidents involved with this job. Truck drivers have one of the highest rates of injuries of all occupations in the United States. This is a job that requires sitting for long periods of time, being aware of one’s surroundings, and being physically fit.
Truck Driver Salary
The median annual income for truck drivers was $41,340 in 2016, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Salaries for truck drivers may vary considerably. One factor that is considered is how far a driver travels to deliver their cargo. The farther they must travel, the more they are paid. Some truck drivers travel out of state or even across the country. The rate per mile depends on the employer and is outlined in the contract signed by the truck driver.
Another factor to consider when determining salary is the type of cargo being carried. Truck drivers carrying certain types of materials, such as hazardous waste, may be eligible to earn a higher salary. Truck drivers with more experience may earn additional salary. Owners of a trucking company may be paid a share of the revenue of the shipping.
Truck Driver Career Outlook
Employment for truck drivers is expected to increase by 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about average compared to other jobs in the United States.
Our country relies on the transportation of freight. This is an industry that will continue to be needed. Trucks transport most of the freight across the United States. While trucks are important, the number of trucks on the road is still lower today than in 2008, before the economic recession.
Companies continue to invest in trucks that are more fuel efficient and come equipped with the latest technologies.
Truck Driver Degree
If you would like to become a truck driver, read below for more information.
Step 1: Truck driving school. First you will need to graduate from high school with your diploma. If you did not graduate, your GED might be sufficient. You will need to attend a professional truck driving school.
During this time you will take training courses, learning how to drive large freight vehicles on highways and busy town roads. You will learn state and federal laws regarding truck driving. These programs typically last 3 to 6 months. Upon finishing the class, you will receive your certificate of completion.
Step 2: Commercial driver’s license. In order to operate a truck, you will need your commercial driver’s license (CDL). In order to receive this you must pass a written exam and a driving test. Drivers can get additional endorsements on their commercial driver’s license to show that they have specialized training, such as HAZMAT, certification in carrying hazardous wastes.