FAQs for People Interested in a Truck Driving Career
If you are looking for a new career path, but don't want to spend a ton of money or many years in school, you may want to consider a truck driving career. As long as you are at least 18, you can undergo relatively quick training to get a commercial driver's license (CDL) and start your career. Read on to learn a little bit more about this career path.
What Are the Benefits of This Career Path?
Truck driving careers are great for people with wanderlust or people who don't want to sit at a computer all day. You get a chance to travel to all sorts of places in the U.S. Besides traveling perks, being a truck driver has good job security since every industry has goods that need to be moved.
The median pay is $45,260 a year, which is a great return of investment for the short training time. Plus, you can get paid even more if you decide to get a specialized CDL. For instance, people who transport refrigerated freight—like organs for medical transplant—need to understand how to set the truck's optimal temperature and maintain it, which requires more responsibility and training, so these types of jobs tend to pay more than other trucking jobs.
Besides good pay and job security, another great thing about this career path is the ability to learn on the job. Some companies will even sponsor you in a program and pay you to get adequate training.
What Schooling or Training Is Required?
Again, you need to be at least 18 years old to get a CDL. But people under the age of 21 can only carry freight within their state. You have to be 21 or older to drive intrastate freight.
To get a CDL, you'll have to look for a program—either on your own or through the trucking company that hires you. These programs can last a few weeks or months depending on the state you live in, how much time you decide to commit to classes, and which type of freight you want to carry. For instance, if you are carrying smaller loads, like a dump truck, you may not need as much training as someone who is carrying over-sized loads, military equipment, etc.
While every program is different, you'll usually need to pass a series of written exams and get endorsements from your instructors. You'll also need to pass a CDL driving test, where you will be tested on how well you control the vehicle (speed management, docking, accident prevention, etc.) and how to conduct a pre-trip inspection.
What Types of Jobs are Available?
There are numerous freight jobs available, but what job you can apply for will depend on which CDL class you get licensed for. Every state has different classes (e.g. Class A and Class B) for different vehicles. You could get a CDL that covers one or many classes. For example, Class A drivers might be allowed to drive livestock carriers, flatbeds, and tractor-trailers, while Class B drivers may be able to drive large buses, articulated buses, and box trucks.
Reach out to a trucker training program in your area for more information.