Are you looking for a career change or are you looking for your first job? A truck driver may be a good choice. Truck drivers transport household goods, large equipment, crops and other goods around the world. They become an important part of the composition of the supply chain. In 2019, truck drivers alone transported 11.8 billion tons of goods in the U.S. In 2020, the average salary for a truck driver in the U.S. will be $48,710.
The duties of a truck driver
It can take weeks or months to become a truck driver, provided you know the rules of the road. That’s because in addition to driving rules, you need to know how to check the safety of the semi-trailer, how to plan the route, and how to secure the cargo.
If you are working as an individual, rather than as part of a transport fleet, you will also need communication skills. This is because this job requires you to communicate with the dispatcher and the customer receiving the shipment.
Truck drivers typically work 14-hour shifts, and 84% of truck drivers say they work more than 40 hours a week.
How to become a truck driver
Basic qualification requirements
If you want to become a truck driver, then you need to meet the age requirements. Most drivers are at least 21 years old. But in some cases, you can become a driver at the age of 18 or older, and some federally run ten-point and military programs allow young drivers to work.
Most long-distance employers expect applicants to have at least a high school diploma or a GED. If you do not have a high school diploma, don’t worry, you can obtain a GED, which costs $80-$160 in most states. This can usually be obtained within four months. The price depends on the state you are locked in.
3. Medical examinations
A medical examination is also usually a necessity. Before you can take the CDL test, you will need your DOT physical certificate provided with a forensic card or forensic waiver.
Getting started with training
Some community colleges, private truck driving schools, and trucking companies will run a truck driver training program. This program will be what qualifies you to take the CDL exam. The cost of these three paths also varies.
The CDL can be completed in three weeks, but this is a full-time program Monday through Friday. It can also be completed over a period of six months to a year through a part-time program.
- Community colleges can provide financial help for students in truck driver programs.
- Private schools and community colleges usually cost between $1,000 and $8,000.
- Corporate sponsorship programs usually last 4-6 weeks and cost about $6,000. However, most companies offer financing and discounts. There is also the option to limit the terms of your employment contract to one year in exchange for your free training.
Apply for employment
Once you have completed your training, you can apply for employment. Some truck driving schools will offer employment counseling. You can also browse websites dedicated to trucking jobs to find job opportunities.
Due to the current driver shortage and the high demand for drivers, it is very common to receive multiple job offers. You can shop around before settling on one.
Once you have found a job, you are ready to start driving a semi-trailer. As you drive, you will need to gain experience, which will help you open up more opportunities.
FAQ about truck drivers
How much does a truck driver make?
According to research, the average salary for a fleet driver in the United States is $48,710. Usually, the salary is paid by the mile, but other salary structures exist.
How many hours can a truck driver drive?
Truck drivers typically work 14-hour shifts and work more than 40 hours per week.
Do you need a CDL to drive a box trailer?
Yes, but only if the van trailer has a GVWR rating of 26,000 pounds or less. Otherwise, you must have a CDL.
If you want to become a truck driver as an individual, then you need to have a high-quality semi-trailer in addition to a CDL. Three Horses Trailer would be a good choice. It is a professional semi-trailer manufacturer that can provide you with professional services.
Three Horses Trailer can guarantee the quality of semi-trailers while offering competitive prices. Whether you are an individual truck driver or a fleet, choosing a semi-trailer from Three Horses Trailer is an excellent choice.