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Did you know there are 3.5 million Americans who get paid to travel the country – every week?
These lucky individuals get to see the sunrise in the east, the sunsets in the west, and everything in between. They get to see beautiful parts of the country that many of us will never experience for ourselves.
Who are these people? Commercial truckers!
If you love the idea of life on the road–and you’re tired of job-hopping–long haul trucking could be an excellent career choice.
How much do truck drivers make? What are some appealing aspects of the truck driver lifestyle?
Read on for an insider’s look–trucker to trucker.
Perks of Becoming a Trucker
Why have so many people chosen to become commercial truck drivers? Here are five reasons.
1. Freedom & Independence
One of the most appealing aspects of becoming a trucker is the independence it offers.
Do you enjoy working on your own? Do you hate having a boss looking over your shoulder or watching your every move?
While truckers enjoy great camaraderie, most of their day is spent solo in the cab of their truck. As long as they stay on schedule, they can decide when and where to stop for meals and rest.
Many truckers (especially those who have been in the business for a while) have a lot of control over their schedules. There are still laws and dispatch orders to follow, but overall they have more independence than any office job could offer.
2. Love of Vehicles & Driving
Many drivers get into the business simply because they love driving and love the feel of large vehicles.
The rumble of a powerful engine is not only exciting, but it changes the chemistry inside your body. Studies have found that the sound of an engine revving actually increases the amount of testosterone in both men and women.
Rather than tinkering with engines and checking out new engine accessories as a weekend hobby, why not try a job where you get to work with them every day? Long distance hauling also offers the driver the chance to relax, think, and reduce anxiety.
3. Good Pay
Considering no college education is required (more on that later), truck drivers make very good salaries.
The average driver earns around $42,480 per year, or about $20/hour. This includes pay per mile driven as well as allowances for food and other necessities on the road.
Like many professions, new drivers typically earn less and enjoy salary increases over time. Many long-time drivers (especially those who become owner/operators) earn six-figure salaries.
4. Plenty of Work
The trucking industry grows steadily every year, and there are no signs it will slow down anytime soon.
In fact, experts predict the US will need almost 900,000 more truck drivers in the next decade. This is due to the rise of e-commerce and the demand for more home shipments from sites like Amazon.
The takeaway? There’s already plenty of job opportunities for truckers out there, and there’s sure to be more openings in the future.
5. Variety & Flexibility
If you hate doing the same thing day in and day out, the trucker driver lifestyle could be a breath of fresh air.
With new routes, new schedules, and new destinations every week, your job will never be dull.
One week you might be enjoying the palm trees and beaches of south Florida. The next you might be putting snow chains on your tires to navigate a mountain pass in Colorado. You may even get the chance to run loads into Mexico, Canada, or Alaska.
You’ll almost never meet the same person twice–unless you want to, of course. And with over 46,000 miles of interstate to explore (not to mention smaller highways), your view will never be boring.
How to Become a Trucker
Of course, no job is perfect–long haul trucking included.
The realities of the lifestyle involve long working hours and long periods of time away from family and friends. Some truckers are also prone to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Still, many feel that the pros of the trucker lifestyle outweigh the cons. If this sounds like you, you’re probably wondering how to get started.
To enter the world of trucking, you’ll need a high school diploma and a clean driving record. You’ll also need to pass a physical exam that proves you’re in good health and have excellent vision and hearing.
Your next step is to enroll in a class A CDL training course. Compared to four or more years of college, you can get through your driver training (and start working) in less than two months. And if you’re looking to be your own boss, you can learn how to start a trucking company.
Expect a big learning curve when you’re learning to operate commercial vehicles and start driving. You’ll need to get used to sitting for 8-10 hours, sleeping in the cab of your truck, and other physical requirements of the job.
In the beginning, you may be assigned less-than-favorable routes. Most companies offer longer and higher-paying routes to drivers who have built up their tenure.
Don’t be discouraged if it takes a little while to get where you want to be. All truckers start at the bottom of the corporate totem pole and work their way up.
Stick with it and prove yourself a responsible and reliable driver. If you do, you’ll be making great money and driving beautiful highways before you know it.
Is Long Haul Trucking For You?
As you can see, a career in long haul trucking has a lot to offer.
If you love the idea of a flexible lifestyle full of new destinations, why not consider making a career change?
When you do, you’ll join millions of other truckers out there who are enjoying “life on the road.”
Ready to learn more about the life of a trucker? Check out our recent post for more fascinating insights.