They say if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life. Choosing a career on the open road means getting paid to see the country, meet people from all different walks of life, and feel a sense of freedom in your job. However, becoming a commercial truck driver is definitely not a job for just anyone. Being a truck driver can be dangerous, tiresome, and frustrating for certain people.
Our economy relies heavily on the timeliness of shipping. In order for business to run smoothly, products need to arrive on-time.
Consumers have become accustomed to an instant gratification style of business. They want what they want, and they want it now. This stress trickles down and ultimately lands in the hands of those making the deliveries.
Before committing yourself to becoming a commercial truck driver, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of working in this industry.
What Requirements Should You Meet for This Job?
Before you can become a truck driver, ask yourself a few questions to find out if you are qualified for the job. Due to federal regulations, trucking companies only consider candidates that have good hearing, good vision, and are in good overall health.
The highest level of schooling needed to be eligible for employment is a GED. Lastly, before deciding to hire you, the company will run a background check.
Different companies have different requirements when it comes to your record of arrests. A felony is typically taken on a case by case basis, but you usually won’t be able to work until 7 to 10 years after any conviction of a felony. Some companies even view certain misdemeanors as grounds for disqualification. The main thing employers look for when considering you is your driving record-which seems obvious, considering it’s what you are applying to do.
Your driving record doesn’t have to be perfect, but any drunk driving conviction will pretty much eliminate your chances. You may become eligible again 5 to 10 years after a DUI conviction.
You should also be prepared to explain any gaps in employment. Employers might need information on your job history going back as far as 10 years. If you have gone without work, even if you were laid off, you may be required to provide proof.
The good thing about seeking employment in the trucking industry is that there are a lot of job opportunities available. Trucking is one of the top occupations in Canada, employing over 225,000 people. With the United States and Canada doing about 300 billion dollars in trade every year, job security is one of the last concerns a trucker runs into.
How Do You Get a Trucking License?
Now that you know you are eligible to become a truck driver, you need to become licensed. In order to get a Commercial Driving
License (CDL), you will have to attend a truck driving school. This can be done through a private truck schooling company or through company-sponsored CDL training programs. Research the school you choose to make sure that it is regulated-if not, you could get scammed.
The requirements for obtaining your CDL vary from state to state, but typically you will need to pass a written exam, have the ability to inspect a vehicle, and prove your driving abilities.
Is Trucking for You?
If you are eligible and interested in becoming a trucker, take a minute to imagine a day in the life of a truck driver. It might be difficult to do because one thing you can always count on is that no two days will ever be the same-which is one of the perks of this adventurous job.
Not all truckers are OTR (Over-The-Road), meaning they work regular hours and go home at night. OTR drivers will have a hard time developing a regular schedule of any kind, including sleep. Most drivers sleep in at rest stops or truck stops in their sleeper cabin. They will work for many days on end and then get a bulk of days off upon returning. Because they are paid by the mile, most drivers eat on the go for the majority of their meals.
The average salary of a truck driver is about $37,000 a year. They make about 40 cents a mile. The number of miles a driver can pull in a day will depend on weather conditions, traffic, and any road hazards, such as car accidents or construction.
The personality type best suited for this job is someone who can work for long hours, doesn’t need a regular schedule, can sleep comfortably without a bed, enjoys feeling autonomous in their work, and doesn’t mind long periods of solitude. It’s also good to consider how well you operate under pressure. Trucking can be very dangerous, and you must be able to keep your cool and maintain the proper safety precautions even under extreme pressure.
A career in trucking can be very fulfilling. You will be paid to see the country while fulfilling a major need to keep our country’s economy going. If you think you are up for the adventure, after weighing all the pros and cons-you’ve got a green light, give it a go!