If you have the right mindset, trucking is a great industry to get into. Yes, it usually means spending days or weeks at a time on the road. However, this means you get to spend time traveling and seeing the country. Income and benefits align with jobs requiring college degrees or advanced trade experience, but it only takes a few months to get the training needed to start a career. Demand for truck drivers has never been higher, making it easy to get hired and ensuring job security. The job is also more accessible than before, thanks to improved trucks and logistics systems. Sound good? Here’s what you need to do to become a truck driver.
To become a licensed driver, you need to be healthy enough to get a DOT medical card. This document shows you’ve passed hearing and vision tests, and you had a clean drug test. You also can’t have any underlying medical conditions that interfere with your ability to drive. This includes seizures and issues related to severe diabetes and high blood pressure. Normally, this card expires after two years. However, if you have a medical condition that could turn into something dangerous, it may be issued for a shorter period.
You need to attend a driving school. Programs vary widely, and you want as much training upfront as possible. A good course will do more than just teach you how to drive. It will also teach you how to take care of loads and handle the paperwork. You can also earn endorsements to handle specialty loads, like tankers and hazardous materials. When you’re choosing a school, consider which trucking companies you want to work for. Many companies partner with and recruit from local schools. By graduating from one of these programs, you have a higher chance of getting the job you want. These companies may offer reimbursement programs. You pay for classes upfront, and once you’re hired, your employer will gradually pay you back.
After graduating from school, you need to take a CDL exam and any examinations required for endorsements. While a CDL allows you to drive anywhere in the country, specific requirements vary from state to state. Once you have your CDL, you can legally drive a commercial truck.
The new company hires undergo a probationary period, where you’ll receive more driver training. Over the next three to four weeks, you’ll learn about the equipment the company uses and the loads they carry. You’ll also go on supervised drives so that you can learn day-to-day operations. Once you complete this program, you’ll finally be a truck driver.
September 13-18, 2021 celebrates Driver Appreciation Week. This week is all about showing gratitude for those who work to deliver goods near and far – especially during these difficult times. Craftsmen would like to thank each and every truck driver for your hard work and dedication to keep our world running.