Are you deciding if being an over-the-road (OTR) truck driver is right for you? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck drivers will continue to be in demand, making trucking a safe and profitable career choice.
If you're considering getting your CDL and becoming an OTR driver, make sure your loved ones are involved in the decision. You'll spend a considerable amount of time away from them. But if long haul trucking appeals to you, you'll find that the trucker lifestyle is full of adventure and offers the kind of freedom that few other jobs do.
The Realities of Being an OTR Truck Driver
OTR truck driving allows you to see the country while earning more money doing a job you love. Expect to drive around 500 miles a day, 300 days a year. Here are a few things you can expect while living the OTR lifestyle:
You'll have flexibility. You may have early mornings but no set-in-stone start time.
You'll drive no more than 11 hours a day with at least a ten-hour break between drives.
You'll get "home time" about once every three weeks. As a general rule, OTR drivers need to have at least a full 34 hours off after 70 hours of driving. The 70 hours is usually done over eight days.
You'll likely be compensated per mile, depending on your carrier.
You'll be able to stop at truck stops or other locations for meals and showers. Many truck stops have showers you can pay to use. Some truckers choose to use portable showers in their trucks.
You'll use the sleeper cab behind the driver's seat to sleep and enjoy free time. The sleeper cab can fit a small mattress. Some truckers have a small television, microwave, and mini-refrigerator in their cabs.
You'll be able to enjoy some solitude as you travel the country.
When you get your first long-haul trucking job, you'll have a trainer teaching you the ins and outs of the OTR lifestyle. This trainer will show you how to take breaks, find meals, and live in your truck. You won't have to learn it all yourself.
Prepare for Life on the Road with CDL Training
The OTR lifestyle often appeals to people who enjoy time alone, desire flexibility, and enjoy traveling the country. If you're considering becoming an OTR truck driver, you'll first need to get your CDL.
At United States Truck Driving School, our CDL training programs can help you learn to drive trucks, pass your CDL exam, and get a job. If you're interested in beginning a career as an OTR truck driver, contact us today to learn more about our programs.
There are rock stars in the sense of Led Zeppelin or AC/DC, but the real rock stars in the driving world are truck drivers. Truck drivers are the "bread and butter" of our society. Even Elvis Presley was told to "stick to truck driving because he would never make it as a rock star." However, we know that being a truck driver is actually a great career that helps many people in the process!
Consider what truck drivers do every day. They get consumer goods to stores, stock our grocery shelves with food, bring food to the restaurants we enjoy eating at, and help stock our favorite stores. If we didn't have truck drivers, many of the goods and services that we enjoy every day would not be readily available.
The Trucking Industry
The trucking industry brings in more than $676.2 billion annually in the US. About 8.9 million people are employed in the truck driving industry, and about 2.3 million of those people drive the actual trucks to their final locations. The average driver gets paid about $40,000 as an entry-level wage. That amount can increase as the driver becomes a "seasoned veteran" in the industry.
Celebrating Truck Drivers
The week of September 8th through the 14th, 2019 is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. It's your opportunity to show truck drivers appreciation for doing what they do.
So, how do you participate in Truck Driver Appreciation Week?
The following are some great ideas that you can use to treat a local truck driver like the rock star of the road that they are:
Share a shout out to your local truck drivers on social media (especially if you own a store or small business).
Give a local truck driver you know an "appreciation gift." (A reusable mug to fill with their favorite drink on the road is a great idea--you could even fill it with goodies!)
Buy a truck driver a meal when you see them in a gas station to thank them for what they do.
Set up a "truck wash" in your community to help drivers clean up their truck. (It gives them a break from doing it FOR ONCE, and they will appreciate it.)
Write a note and thank a truck driver you see out and about
These are a few great ways that you can thank truck drivers who serve your community without breaking the bank.
At United States Truck Driving School, we are proud to participate in National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. If you're interested in getting started in the trucking industry, contact us about how we can help you obtain your CDL.
Thinking about getting a new job, one with job security, good pay, and a lot of opportunities? You might want to consider getting your CDL and becoming a truck driver! We've already shared a few reasons why you should get your CDL and become a truck driver. Today we are sharing 5 MORE benefits of getting your Commercial Driver's License!
One of the best reasons to get your CDL is that you'll get good pay & benefits. The average amount that a CDL driver makes is $41,000 just in the first year! Your income potential can increase based on the company that you work for, what type of vehicle you're driving, and if you're driving OTR (over the road) routes. Many companies are offereing sign-on bonuses, as well as comprehensive benefits packages that include health insurance, paid vacation time, and much more!
Lots of Job Opportunities
With a CDL, you have many job opportunities that you can choose from! This means that you don't have to worry about being stuck in the same old dead-end job. From local to regional or over-the-road routes, CDL drivers have many career options! You also have the option to drive solo, or partner up and drive as a team.
Many people worry about whether they will be downsized in the company that they work for. But for someone with a CDL, this isn't a concern. The current shortage of drivers means that those who have a CDL won't have trouble finding a job. Attend any of our recruiter visits and meet with local and national companies that are continually hiring new drivers for various routes!
No Need to Move
When you get a new job, many times you have to go and move to where the new job is. As a trucker, you don't have to worry about uprooting your family and moving when you start your career, or if you switch companies. As long as you live in the same state as your CDL, you can keep home-base as it is. Most major trucking companies have terminals located throughout the United States, providing drivers with local access to equipment maintenance facilities, drop yards, and offices.
If you love to travel, you'll get to do a lot of it while driving a truck - and get paid for it at the same time! The open road is your office building, your truck is your office chair and cubicle.
As you can see, having a Commercial Driver's License can offer you many things that a typical 9-to-5 job can't.
Interested in learning more? Contact us and let us show you what becoming a CDL driver can do for you! 303-848-8443
How to obtain your Colorado Commercial Driver's License
According to experts, the trucking industry is currently experiencing a shortage of drivers. To combat this, and attract new drivers, most companies are already offering sign-on bonuses, higher pay per mile, and additional retirement and health benefits. Moreover, they are considering accommodating a younger generation of applicants, thus creating new opportunities for those interested in this adventurous career.
Any newcomer to the industry will need to obtain their Commercial Driver's License in order to begin their new career. To do that, you'll need to meet the following requirements:
Requirements for getting a Commercial Driver's License in Colorado
In Colorado, the entire process of qualification, testing for, and issuance of a commercial driver's license is governed by a set of state and federal regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The general requirement for getting a CDL is 21 years. However, in February 2019, the Colorado State House passed a bill that would reduce the eligible age requirement for drivers from 21 to 18 years. Most other states still maintain the former, which is also the required age for Hazmat endorsement. Students at United States Truck Driving School must be at least 18 years old to enroll in any CDL training program.
To qualify for training for your Commercial Drivers License in Colorado, you must also meet other enrollment requirements. Some of these include:
Your last five years should be free from any DUI conviction related to alcohol or any other drug. Students must also pass the required drug screening.
Go for Specialized CDL training
Getting your Colorado CDL is easier when you enroll for specialized training. United States Truck Driving School employs knowledgable instructors who will provide you with the resources, skills, and knowledge you'll require to get started as a truck driver. Our helpful staff is on hand for assistance with job placement after getting your Colorado CDL, or if you just want help exploring the different options of tuition assistance.
If you're ready to get a CDL in Colorado and want to begin your training, give us a call! We'll guide you on how to maneuver and excel in the rewarding career opportunity of trucking! 303-848-8443
What disqualifies you from getting your CDL license?
The trucking industry creates stable career opportunities for people from all different backgrounds. However, a flawed driving or criminal history may leave you questioning your eligibility for a commercial driver's license (CDL).
Not everyone qualifies for a commercial driver's license. Today we are answering the question of whether a felon can get a CDL and drive a truck.
Can I get a CDL as a Felon?
It depends. Some felons may have a temporary ban on getting a CDL, while others are permanently disqualified. The good news is that you do not have to have a spotless record to train and be hired as a truck driver. However, there are requirements you must meet to determine if you are eligible for CDL training.
The state you live in matters
Whether or not a felon qualifies for a commercial driver's license relies on the state of residence. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the disqualification rules for all CDL holders. In addition, each state has its own rules on commercial driver's licenses that can disqualify you from eligibility.
The felony conviction matters
Not every offense damages your eligibility for getting your CDL. For instance, minor infractions (such as an overdue parking ticket) cannot disqualify you from getting a job as a truck driver. On the other hand, certain driving infractions or more serious criminal convictions may prohibit you from obtaining a CDL.
How much time has passed?
Many disqualifications are not permanent. Time does matter, and it can change a lot of things for the better. Many times, enough time has passed, or the conviction is not relevant to disqualify you from training. A thorough look into your background will help us determine if you are eligible to train for your CDL and start a career in the trucking industry.
Recommended Actions to Take
Your best course of action is to meet with us one-on-one to discuss your eligibility. A felon does not have to be defined by their past crime, but how they recover from them. Schedule a time to sit and talk with an Admissions Representative about your opportunities of having a CDL. We'll help you figure out if you are able and eligible for your CDL Permit, as well as discuss your job opportunities.Have an imperfect criminal history and want to know if you qualify to train for your CDL? Let's see if United States Truck Driving School can help get you on the road to success! Call us today! 303-848-8443
After you have completed training and passed your CDL tests, you will have a lot of truck driving career opportunities to choose from. Your biggest decision will be deciding to go to work over-the-road (OTR) or for a local company. Both offer specific benefits and setbacks, and it's important to know the pros and cons before you pick either route.
Local Driving Opportunities
Most local driving positions will be with smaller, local companies. However, some national carriers have shorter regional or local routes available. In local driving positions, you will generally operate within a radius of 250 miles from your home terminal.
The Pros of Local Driving Jobs
More Time at Home – Local routes mean no over-the-road time. You'll be behind the wheel during a typical 8-or 12- hour shift in addition to performing other duties the position requires.
Set Routine - Working as a local driver usually means having a set schedule so you'll be back to your family in the evening. You may drive the same route, work with the same customers, or follow a regular routine each day.
Smaller Company – Many of these local positions are with small, local companies in your community. Of course, there are many benefits of working for a smaller company, such as being part of a tightknit team.
The Cons of Driving Locally
Fewer Opportunities – There is a high demand for truck drivers, but finding a local gig is not always as easy - particularly if you are new or have less experience.
Lower Earning Potential – Local drivers typically earn less compared to their OTR counterparts and enjoy less financial benefits. However, the additional home-time can be seen as a benefit that OTR drivers don't get.
Extra Roles – Most of the time, you will also be required to physically load and unload the freight you are delivering.
Longer Hours – While you may enjoy the comfort of your bed every night, you may be required to begin shifts as early as 4 am, or work until late in the evenings.
Over the Road Driving Opportunities
Over-the-Road (OTR) driving is an adventurous opportunity that lets you cover the country's lower 48 states, and in some routes into Canada or Mexico. However, routes vary, and the choice of freight depends on the company you are working with.
The Pros of Going Over-the-Road
Higher Pay – Working as an OTR driver is more lucrative, and most employers offer other perks such as sign-on or referral bonuses.
Travel – What makes this an interesting opportunity is that you travel across the country and get paid for it!
Paid off-days – Most companies offer their drivers paid days off according to the number of days you have been working.
Defined Role – Typically you will not perform extra duties, such as offloading freight. Many carriers offer no-touch freight routes, which means exactly that. You drive the freight, but don't have to unload it!
Longer Driving Time – You'll have to follow the Hours of Service rules, but you'll spend a lot more time driving as an OTR trucker. One possible benefit? Team driving. Partner up and share the driving time. You’ll average more miles in a day which can equal faster trips – and more money.
So, Which One is Better?
The 'better' option depends on you! If you're looking for more home time, you may find local driving opportunities are a better fit. If you are a new driver looking for a little more adventure - or a little more pay - than OTR routes may be your calling.
All in all, there are pros and cons to any career you choose. Truck driving is no different. However, there is one advantage no matter which route you take: There are a lot of trucking companies hiring new drivers and loads of career opportunities when you hold a CDL.
No matter if you want to work for a big national carrier, or for a smaller local company, it's a great time to start training for your CDL at United States Truck Driving School. Our Class A CDL training programs can have you on the road in a new career in just a few weeks.
Get expert guidance on how to jump-start your trucking career in a position that is best for you! Call us today! 303-848-8443