When it comes to choosing your career, only you know yourself best. If you’re someone who thrives on independence, loves visiting new places, and has a passion for the road, truck driving might be a good fit for you.
Working in the trucking logistics industry can be quite fulfilling for many, as you have the opportunity to travel almost anywhere, at your own pace. Plus, to have a truck driving career, you don’t need to spend four years taking full-time college courses. However, there are still a couple of things you’ll need to keep in mind in order to jumpstart your career.
A good truck driver could be someone who maintains:
- A Self-sufficient Nature
- A Courteous Rapport
- Basic Mechanical Skills
- Stress Management Skills
- The Ability to Pay Attention to Detail and Stay Alert
- An Excellent Driving Record
If you’re considering becoming a truck driver, you’ll want to have a good understanding of everything you need before you can start your new job. Still unsure if you’re ready to become one of the 3.5 million truck drivers in the US? Read more to find out.
Below are 3 things to keep in mind when deciding to become a professional truck driver:
- Operation Requirements
- Obtaining a CDL
- Finding a Job
Once you’ve decided truck driving is the job for you, you’ll want to make sure you meet government requirements in order to drive a Commercial Motor Vehicle and be hired by a professional company.
The general US requirements are:
- Be at least 21 years old to drive across state lines.
- Have a clean driving record and solid work history.
- Pass a background check.
- Have a non-commercial driver’s license.
However, depending upon your state, there may be other requirements that you need to be aware of. Be sure to check out your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website to become familiar with your state’s commercial driving rules and regulations.
Obtaining a CDL
The next step to take is earning your proper certifications. To become a truck driver anywhere in the US, you’ll need to earn a CDL or commercial driver’s license. To obtain a CDL certification, you will have to attend a truck driving school, pass a drug and alcohol test, undergo a physical and provide proper documentation.
Typically, to obtain your CDL, you’ll likely have to spend about $3,000-6,000 dollars on truck driving school. If this price feels too expensive for you, there are various programs available that offer other solutions.
Most truck driving school courses last about three weeks. In class, you’ll spend most of your time either in the classroom or on the road. Before getting behind the wheel, you’ll learn the ins and outs of the pre-trip inspection procedure, logbook keeping, and federal motor carrier regulations. You will also learn how to properly load your truck, as well as keep track of your progress.
Generally, during your three-week course, you’ll be out on the highway, in a commercial vehicle within the first week. Here, you’ll learn everything from driving and shifting to up-shifting and down-shifting. Similar to your non-commercial driver’s license, you’ll be taken on a few smaller highways at first, and then eventually given more road to roam. Once you finish your course and pass your certification tests, you’ll be able to start looking for a job and begin reaping the rewards of your new career.
Finding a Truck Driving Job
Once you have completed your certification courses and earned your CDL, you will have access to various jobs with a wide variety of Tennessee based trucking companies. Before you begin applying, make sure you meet the requirements of the specific company you are applying to. Just like state-to-state requirement differences, many companies may have differing wants and needs to what you can provide.
Prior to starting employment at most trucking companies, you will be required to pass a drug and alcohol screening. This is simply due to the fact that you will be in charge of heavy machinery, commercial vehicles on the regular. In addition to drug screenings, you will likely be required to share your work history and pass a background check. Again, before applying, ensure that you have all the proper certifications or background history needed for each company’s guidelines.
Becoming a truck driver can be a fun and rewarding career choice. Once you’ve completed your certifications and requirements by state, you’ll be ready to hit the ground driving.