6 Steps to Becoming a Truck Driver | https://epicentreconcerts.org

LearnHowToBecome.org is an advertising-supported web site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This recompense does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. Truck drivers haul food, automobiles, and other goods around the state, making them an all-important share of the provide chain. According to the american Trucking Associations ( ATA ), hand truck drivers transported 11.8 billion tons of cargo in 2019. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( BLS ) recorded more than 2 million heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in 2020, who earned an average wage of $ 48,710 .
There are many options for training to become a hand truck driver, including programs at community colleges, secret drive schools, and transportation companies. Companies normally pay trucking professionals by the sea mile. You can begin working at historic period 21 with a gamey school diploma or equivalent and a commercial driver ‘s license ( CDL ). however, one technical told us the problem is n’t for everyone .

What Does a Truck Driver Do?

Career Basics

Truck drivers operate massive drive vehicles, such as 16-wheel tractor-trailers and tankers. Some work as independent contractors, and others work for a commercial flit or exile company .
Career In-Depth
To be a truck driver, you need to complete a trail program that qualifies you to take the CDL examination .

Career In-Depth

Becoming a truck driver can take a few weeks or a few months, and your train wo n’t just include the rules of the road. You ‘ll besides learn about how to inspect your fomite for base hit, how to plan and manage long trips, and how to secure freight .
While you ‘re often driving on your own, you besides need customer military service skills to do your job efficaciously. The solve involves communicating with your dispatcher and with the customers who receive shipments .
Truck drivers work hanker shifts, up to 14 hours. According to the Occupational Information Network ( O*Net ), 84 % of hand truck drivers reported working more than 40 hours a week. The majority besides said they were frequently exposed to the elements and worked on rigid deadlines .

Steps to Becoming a Truck Driver

Before considering the steps to becoming a truck driver, know that there is an senesce prerequisite. To legally operate commercial motive vehicles, you must be at least 21 years old .
however, you can obtain a learner ‘s permit deoxyadenosine monophosphate early as long time 18, and some federally run pilot programs and military programs allow younger drivers to work .
step 1
Pass Your State ‘s Regular Driver ‘s License Exam
You must have a stream driver ‘s license in your state before earning a CDL. With a regular driver ‘s license, you may even be able to start your career driving rescue trucks while studying for your CDL. U.S. driver ‘s license fees cost between $ 20 and $ 90 .
step 2
complete High School or the GED
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( BLS ) states that most long-haul employers expect applicants to hold at least a senior high school school diploma or GED certificate. In most states, you can earn your GED in around four months for $ 80 to $ 140 .
step 3
Start Professional training
Community colleges, individual truck drive schools, and trucking companies host hand truck driver train programs that qualify you to take the CDL examination. Some states have their own process of auditing and accrediting programs, so make certain you know your state ‘s BMV or DMV regulations .
Driver train programs may death up to a class. Private schools and community college programs can range in cost from around $ 1,000 to $ 10,000 .
Community colleges may provide fiscal aid to students in truck driving programs. Some may even offer a annual degree related to truck drive or commercial cargo business. This is not necessity to begin driving, but it can be a capital option if you want to obtain a college degree .
Company-sponsored programs normally survive four to six weeks and monetary value around $ 6,000. Most offer discounts, finance options, and sometimes full reimbursement to graduates who stay with the company for a hardening amount of clock .
step 4
Earn Your CDL and other relevant Endorsements
At a minimum, you need to have a CDL. CDLs come with different classifications ( A, B, and C ), depending on the size and burden of your vehicle. The CDL-A is the most versatile for drivers of bombastic cargo .
You besides may need an sanction code on your license. Endorsements indicate what you can legally transport and are essential for peculiarity vehicles like school buses and tankers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ( FMCSA ) explains the different classes and second codes. still, you should consult your state of matter BMV or DMV, besides .
Your CDL application, test, and license will incur a tip in many states ‘ BMV or DMV systems. The most expensive fee will be the license tip, which ranges from $ 20 to $ 120 .
step 5
Find Job Placement Assistance
Some hand truck drive schools offer occupation boards and career guidance. Truck-driving associations besides help members connect with employers and career mentors. These associations include the ATA, Women in Trucking, and more .
step 6
arrant Your Employer ‘s Finishing Program
Most companies require newly licensed employees to complete an in-house aim broadcast. These coach sessions, much called driver finish programs, introduce you to the vehicles, materials, and equipment relevant to the company. The program itself may last three to four weeks and involve a period of oversee drive .

Truck Driver Salary & Job Growth


Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Projections Central

Top 10 States With the Highest Job Growth

  1. Arizona: 20%
  2. Guam: 20%
  3. Nevada:19.3%
  4. Utah: 17.4%
  5. Colorado:17%
  6. Virgin Islands: 16.7%
  7. Texas: 15.9%
  8. Georgia: 15.5%
  9. California: 15.2%
  10. South Carolina: 13.1%

Career Paths for Truck Drivers

Build a criminal record of safety and dependability
specially when starting, it ‘s crucial to keep an faultless drive record. heedless drive can lead to losing your CDL. besides, work to establish a history of dependability with your employer and customers .
build strong relationships early on on in your career may help you land your future job or more desirable routes or shifts .
Gain specialization have
sometimes companies need to transport extra-wide loads or hazardous materials. In these scenarios, companies are looking for the necessary endorsements and rise experience .
Drivers can besides earn more for these jobs. For exercise, Payscale.com reports that the average annual income for oil tanker truck drivers is $ 64,810 .
Become an industry educator or ambassador

industry associations put on conferences, events, and advocacy opportunities. many have an ambassador program. Examples include North Carolina Trucking Association ‘s Road Team Captains and Women in Trucking ‘s Women to Watch number .
Start a fleet or shift careers
After working for a retail or transportation system company, you may decide to work for yourself. Owner-operators are freelance and have a truck or humble fleet. It requires significant investment to own a fleet. still, it can be rewarding to work for yourself, particularly if you can embrace the life style .
If you decide the hours, try, and long treks are n’t for you in the long run, a new career might suit you. You can translate your experience in path planning and customer military service into non-driving jobs in logistics. Transportation and logistics companies sometimes hire have drivers into administrative roles .

Courses in Truck Driving Programs

Your training program will combine theoretical learning with practical driving experience. typically, programs start in the classroom then build up to road drive, including :

  • Classroom training
  • Observation
  • Practice driving in a controlled environment (like a private lot)
  • Supervised road driving

here are the basic course types and topics aim will cover :

CDL Basics

  • Learn regulations of license classifications and endorsements
  • Study the rules of the road
  • Prepare for your state exam

Theoretical Learning

  • Learn about transportation technology
  • Identify mechanical issues
  • Learn strategies for trip planning, logging miles, and map reading

Practical Driving Skills

  • Gain skills and strategies for night driving and extreme conditions
  • Practice truck control and maneuvering
  • Conduct mechanical inspections
  • Practice techniques for shifting, rigging, and speed management

Pro Tips on Becoming a Truck Driver

Editor’s Note: We ‘ve edited these tips for clearness and length .
Tyler Niedge
Tyler Niedge
Tyler Niedge, CDL teacher at Miles Community College, told us what he ‘s learned from a life around the hauling diligence .
If you ‘re looking for an 8-to-5, Monday-through-Friday speculate, this is not the one for you .
It takes students by surprise when they have to work 14-hour shifts for straight days, but it ‘s possible, equally long as you ‘re within your hours of service .
The long hours go for everyone — not precisely cross-country hauling. evening when I was able to come home after my fault, it was equitable to sleep. That means when my daughter was short, I was on the road before she was up in the morning and fall dwelling after her bedtime .
It ‘s not like driving a car .
It’s harder work than that. There’s a lot more to pay attention to and a lot more responsibility.
It ‘s harder work than that. There ‘s a lot more to pay attention to and a distribute more duty. You have to respect the slice of equipment you ‘re running — your pay depends on it .
The bottom line of the company you’re working for depends on if that truck is working. The time spent on equipment, the investment in maintenance, that all influences your paycheck.
The penetrate line of the company you ‘re working for depends on if that hand truck is working. The time spent on equipment, the investing in alimony, that all influences your paycheck. A short coarse common sense goes a long means .
You need to be on time, and you must be able to clearly communicate — whether that’s verbally, through email, or text.
You need to be on fourth dimension, and you must be able to clearly communicate — whether that ‘s verbally, through electronic mail, or text. Weigh out your options for education and fiscal help .
If you have a CDL, you ‘ll never be out of the job. But a lot of our students inactive want a full year of college experience. Our course of study focuses on gaining CDL licensure in the first gear semester and offers a nerve pathway to a annual academic degree in commercial freight entrepreneurship. In semester two, students can choose their own path and take different classes, like commercial freight business entrepreneurship, market, or HR .
There are for-profit programs out there, besides, but the interest rates cost can be extreme. We ‘re besides working toward building a platform that is eligible for fiscal help, which can make a big difference for students .

Related Careers

possibly you ‘re drawn to a career in truck drive because of your love for automobiles. If this sounds like you, consider other career paths, such as becoming a mechanic or a mechanical engineer .
You can besides explore your singular interests and career personality character by taking the complimentary Lantern Career Interest Quiz. The quiz is designed to show you what likely careers match astir to what you care most about .

Getting Financial Help with Your Truck Driving Program

Scholarships for Truck Driving Programs:

  • Who qualifies: Women training to advance their careers in trucking
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: You can apply for the spring or fall cycle

Federal Grants:

  • Who qualifies: Determine your eligibility by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)
  • Amount: Varies; the maximum amount awarded in the 2021-2022 school year was $6,495
  • Deadline: June 30, annually
  • Who qualifies: People over the age of 18 who have lost their job
  • Amount: Varies, potentially the entire cost of your program
  • Important information: Work directly with your local American Job Center through CareerOneStop.org to determine what assistance is available and whether you qualify.

Company Sponsored Training Programs

several companies run their own CDL train programs and hire graduates. In these programs, the caller typically wo n’t charge you any upfront costs. alternatively, they will deduct small installments from your paycheck once they employ you. besides, after working with them for a set amount of time, they may partially or fully reimburse your tutelage costs .
here are a few of many major companies that sponsor training programs :

  • Who qualifies: You should be at least 21 with a clean driving record. C.R. England lists more qualifications for employment.
  • Amount: About 70% of your tuition costs if you stay with the company for a year. Military veterans are eligible for more coverage.
  • Who qualifies: Individuals who commit to working for Swift for at least 26 months.
  • Amount: Partial tuition, except for your license fees. Veterans qualify for a full scholarship.
  • Who qualifies: You must have a commercial learner’s permit.
  • Amount: Tuition reimbursement after the first year of working for TMC.

FAQs on Earning Your Truck Driver Certification

How do you become a hand truck driver ?
To become a hand truck driver, you need to pass the CDL test. From there, you can get a job at a hauling and logistics company and attend their in-house school. To haul special cargo, you may need to complete extra on-the-job discipline .
How much does a truck driver make ?
Truck driver salaries typically range between $ 38,000 and $ 58,000. The average truck driver makes $ 48,710 a year, according to the BLS .
How hanker does it take to become a truck driver ?
The length of time to complete a truck driving program varies from four weeks to a year. You can complete most programs in under twelve weeks .
How much does it cost to become a truck driver ?
Most truck driver train programs cost between $ 1,000 and $ 10,000. Some companies reimburse employees ’ tuition for in-house drive schools .
Are there truck driver programs online ?
While you can find practice exams for the CDL on-line, you ’ ll have to complete in-person instruction to learn hardheaded drive skills .

Resources for Truck Drivers

There ‘s a wealth of information available on-line for current truckers or modern drivers seeking their licenses. Learn more about union and country regulations, base hit issues, and ways to prevent illegal activities on the road :

American Trucking Associations

This organization advocates for federal licensing and safety regulations. Its news section includes relevant topics such as driver compensation, safety tips, and logging regulations.
This organization advocates for federal license and safety regulations. Its newsworthiness section includes relevant topics such as driver compensation, safety tips, and log regulations .


Privately owned, DMV.org lists CDL eligibility requirements, state-by-state CDL requirements, and free CDL practice tests.
privately owned, DMV.org lists CDL eligibility requirements, state-by-state CDL requirements, and unblock CDL practice tests .

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the FMCSA regulates and provides safety oversight of CMVs. The website has details on regulations, registration, commercial driver licensing, and road safety.
As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the FMCSA regulates and provides guard oversight of CMVs. The web site has details on regulations, registration, commercial driver license, and road safety .

FMCSA Electronic Logging Devices

(ELD)Learn how to edit and annotate records of duty status, certify the records, and collect supporting documents.
( ELD ) Learn how to edit and annotate records of duty condition, certify the records, and collect supporting documents .

Trucker Country

The website lists the minimal Federal and State requirements to apply for licensing, how to comply with medical and physical regulations, details on self-certification, and a CDL Practice Test Center.
The web site lists the minimal Federal and State requirements to apply for license, how to comply with checkup and physical regulations, details on self-certification, and a CDL Practice Test Center .

Truckers Against Trafficking

This organization works with corporations and nonprofits to educate drivers and law enforcement personnel on identifying and reporting human trafficking and risks.
This organization works with corporations and nonprofits to educate drivers and law enforcement personnel on identify and reporting human traffic and risks .

Women in Trucking (WIT)

WIT is a nonprofit that supports workforce diversity in the trucking industry and organizes networking and career growth resources.
WIT is a nonprofit organization that supports work force diversity in the hauling diligence and organizes network and career increase resources.

Become Team
Lyss Welding
Contributing writer

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