Q: What do truck drivers do?
A: Truck drivers keep America moving along. It’s thanks to the trucking industry and the men and women who drive it that products gets shipped throughout the entire country. Depending on which type of truck you drive will determine your exact duties. Find a local CDL class.
There are three different types of truck drivers: Owner-operator, company truck driver, and independent owner:
- Owner-operators either own their own trucks or lease from the company. If you are an owner-operator, you may pick up jobs through a few different companies, or you may work with just one.
- Company truck drivers work for a trucking company, usually driving the company truck to deliver their haul.
- Independent owners might own their own small fleet, or drive hauls themselves.
Things about trucking you can expect to do no matter which type of driver you are:
- Working much more than the typical 40 hour work week.
- Tracking your every move with an ELD/logbook.
- Checking your haul against an inventory sheet to make sure it’s all good.
- Loading or unloading the goods.
- Keeping an inspection record of your truck.
- Mapping out your delivery route.
- Being away from home for extended periods of time.
- Pre trip inspections to be sure your truck is clean and in excellent condition.
Q: How do I become a truck driver?
A: You can start a truck driving career in as little as a few weeks. Some of the necessary requirements are on a state level, so you’ll need to check what exactly is expected from you.
- Most companies will expect you to have a GED, if not a high school diploma.
- You need to be 18 to drive in your state, and 21 to be able to cross state lines.
- Have a clean driving record.
- Take and pass a physical exam every two years.
- Get trained for your CDL through the hiring company, or find a training program.
- Training lasts from a few weeks to a few months depending on which program you attend.
- Get your CDL and any necessary endorsements. Take some of the free practice tests to help you study.
- Once you’re hired, you’ll receive more on-the-job training.
Q: Will I be able to find a job?
A: Although many website statistics state the employment growth for truck driving is expected to remain about average, the truth is there’s a crisis going on in the trucking industry. There’s a massive driver shortage and not enough people are going into trucking to step in and replace those who are retiring or moving on. As long as you have the proper training and licensing, and you meet your state’s criteria, you should easily find a trucking job.
Q: How much money can I make?
A: You have be able to support yourself and your family in order to survive. If you decide truck driving is for you, you’ll bring home an average salary of over $43K. Entry level, you’ll earn around $26K. Once you’ve established yourself in the industry, you can start making in the $60Ks. Some of the higher paying trucking jobs are ice trucking, liquid hauling, specialty car hauling, and team driving which all come with larger salaries.
Find out what truck driving is really like from Faces of Trucking interviews.