What Does a Typical Trucking Career Look Like?
If you dread the idea of sitting around all day in a stuffy office writing emails and answering telephones it may be time for a career change. People often overlook the trucking industry as an option. This career can lead to excellent pay and many great benefits.
When driving trucks you get to go a lot of great places and see parts of the area or country you may otherwise never get to see. You are being active and hands-on in your job of driving the vehicle and interacting with new clients every time you deliver a load.
If this sounds like a job that’s appealing to you, there is one question left: How do I get started?
How Do I Start My Career As a Truck Driver?
To begin your career as a truck driver there are four things you first must do:
- Complete Your GED: Drivers for almost all companies must complete a GED if they have not already graduated high school. Get your GED to open the option of driving with almost any company you wish.
- Have a Clean Driving Record: Keeping your driving record clean is vital to get hired on by almost all trucking companies. They will check your driving record before hiring as they don’t want the liability of someone with a bad driving history.
- Get Your Commerical Driver License: Every state will have its own laws about getting your CDL license for commercial driving, but federal guidelines are the minimum that each state must adhere to.
- Pass the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) Exam: The exam will require you to pass both a written and a physical (hearing and sight) component to the exam to receive your commercial CDL license. Once the written exam is over, you are done forever; however, you will have to pass the physical part once every 2 years to keep your CDL valid.
I Passed My CDL! Now What?
Congratulations! You have now passed your CDL and are ready to get your brand new career in trucking underway! Truck drivers are in very high demand right now as the American Truckers Association reports that they are currently struggling to fill 48,000 positions across the US. That number will likely balloon to 175,000 truck drivers needed by 2024 as more truck drivers retire.
The point? Truckers are in high demand. Entry-level trucking jobs are the first thing you will likely receive when you get your CDL. The good news? Truck drivers are seeing their salary increase by a staggering average of 8 to 12% every year they are on the job.
What Kinds of Trucking Jobs Are “Entry Level”?
Most entry-level truck drivers will begin driving in one of two categories:
- Over The Road (OTR) – OTR routes are generally driven for at least a year before being promoted up to higher-level jobs. OTR truckers are different in that they are generally the drivers that haul longer length loads countrywide. These are generally irregular routes that can go across the country.
- Less Than Load (LTL) – LTL drivers are delivering small amounts of goods at one time, which means they have many stops with one truckload of goods. This is another starting category where most drivers spend at least a year learning about trucking before moving up to higher-level positions.
While you may have to travel farther and spend more time away from home you do get to enjoy the freedom of the open road and see places you otherwise might never consider going!
What Comes After OTR Trucking?
After most drivers complete their OTR trucking experience (usually a year or longer) most drivers move on to solo trucking or local trucking routes where they are able to have more time at home and can avoid cross-country travel.
These are generally also higher paying jobs as they drive solo rather than on a team of several drivers delivering the same load.
For more information on getting your career in trucking started and on the different jobs you can experience please feel free to contact us.