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At the present time, the truck driving industry is in need of around 50,000 additional drivers.
Unfortunately, these drivers are not being found. This means that if you’re at all interested in becoming a driver, now is a very opportune time to throw your hat into the ring.
The question is: how do you become qualified to drive trucks for a living? Do you need special training? We have the answers to those questions and many more below.
Here is everything you need to know about the career of a truck driver.
How to Become a Truck Driver
Unfortunately, you can’t just start driving an 18-wheeler the moment you feel like it. You must first go through some necessary training. The training required will be discussed in detail below.
Meet the Necessary Prerequisites
The first part of your training involves meeting some prerequisites. If you don’t meet all of these prerequisites, you will not be allowed to drive trucks for a living.
First, you must have a high school diploma or GED, and be at least 18 years of age. If you want to drive across the country, you need to be 21 years of age.
Next, you must have a relatively clean driving record. Any serious accidents on your record will prevent you from pursuing a career as a truck driver.
You must also be able to pass a physical exam demonstrating that you are physically fit to perform the job as intended. This physical exam involves demonstrating excellent hearing and vision as well as proving that you have no serious health conditions.
Attend Truck Driving School
If you meet the necessary prerequisites, you can attend driving school. Truck driving schools are held at community colleges and similar facilities and typically last for between 3 and 6 weeks. To attend driving school, you typically need to pay somewhere between $2,500 and $6,000.
While attending driver school, you can pursue a variety of different certifications, all of which can be added to your standard CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The certifications you obtain will alter which types of trucks you can legally drive for a living.
Find a Job
As was noted above, truck driving jobs are plentiful at the moment, with around 50,000 positions waiting to be filled in the United States. In essence, finding a truck driving job is not particularly difficult.
Newspaper listings, online job boards, and flyers are constantly advertising open trucking jobs. Apply to as many as possible, and you should be able to land one fairly soon.
What is the Lifestyle Like?
The lifestyle of a trucker depends entirely upon what type of trucking he or she involved in. Whereas some truckers spend almost the entirety of their lives on the road, other truckers get to go home each and every night.
In any case, you will spend a large portion of your life sitting down. You will also be spending a great amount of time in solitude. The life of a driver can be lonely and boring; it’s definitely not a life for everyone.
If you drive long distances (around 500 miles per day), you will typically have to sleep in the cab of your truck. Truck cabs are not uncomfortable, but they’re not exactly hotel rooms either.
Those who value order, routine, and close personal contact would probably not enjoy the life of a trucker. Those who value the opposite, however, are perfect candidates for the job.
Types of Truck Driving
Not all truck drivers are created equally. There are a number of different specialties for professional drivers to pursue, some of which will be reviewed below.
Ice Road Trucking
The highest paying of all types of truck driving jobs is ice road trucking, a dangerous form of trucking which involves driving in sub-arctic temperatures and weather conditions. Highly sought after, these jobs pay exceedingly well, often topping $120,000 for just a few months work.
Liquid hauling driving jobs necessitate that you transport hazardous chemicals from one area to another within a set work day. Requiring a special certification, this job doesn’t pay as well as other driving jobs, but it does offer a healthy work-life balance.
Over the Road Trucking
Over the road, or OTR trucking involves driving thousands of miles on a weekly basis as a means of transporting goods across all of North America. OTR jobs pay very well, but also involve spending the majority of your life on the road. Those who have these jobs often only see their family and friends 50 or 60 days out of the year.
Food Delivery Driving
Food delivery drivers get paid between $50,000 and $70,000 a year to drive trucks during normal business hours. There is a caveat that they must face, however; they must help to load and unload their own trucks. Food delivery driver jobs can be quite physically taxing.
Truck Driver Salary
Depending on the type of driving you do, your salary can be anywhere from meager to high. As a whole, truck drivers make somewhere between $30,000 and $120,000 yearly.
Whereas ice road truckers and over the road truckers typically make over $70,000 annually, liquid hauling truckers and food delivery drivers usually make between $30,000 and $60,000 annually. However, overtime bonuses can affect these figures substantially, which is why there are many truck driver wage and hour claims.
The only way to know for certain what a specific trucking job will pay is to apply for it. It may pay very little, but it could pay a great deal. If you’re willing to aggressively pursue jobs and sacrifice your life outside of work, truck driving can make you quite a bit of money.
Learn About Other Exciting Careers
Not sure of whether or not you want to be a truck driver? Interested in learning about other exciting careers? In News Weekly has you covered.
Our website has plentiful info about various careers in a number of different industries. Whether you’re looking to go to college, go to trade school, or just pursue a job immediately, our articles can help you.
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