There are many people for whom life in an office setting on a daily basis is just not satisfying. Do you find yourself in that category? You may want to consider a career as a truck driver. It’s a good way to see the country, have a certain degree of freedom, and yet be paid well for your endeavors.
Trucking is a career in which there will always be a need for drivers. Despite our technological advances, moving merchandise by truck is still one of the quickest and most economical ways to get goods from one place to another. Even if goods are flown by air, they usually still need to be delivered by truck to get to their final destination. So there will never be a time that truck drivers aren’t needed and are not in demand. In fact, due to faster shipping expectations, the need for truck drivers is now greater than ever. So whether it’s a primary career move for you or you’re thinking about trucking as a second career, now is a great time to look into the field and see what it has to offer.
One of the first steps to becoming a long-haul truck driver is to obtain your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). You will need to attend trucking school to qualify for the license. In general, the requirements for a CDL are:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a good driving record and work history
- Pass a physical
- Pass a drug and alcohol test
Many companies require new long haul drivers to have at least two years of driving experience. You may want to consider a stint as a local delivery driver to fulfill this requirement. In addition, drivers must also pass the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation exam (FMCSR), a test on federal traffic rules.
You must next decide if you want to work for an employer or as an independent driver. If you opt to work for a company, your employer will take care of your permits and requirements on your behalf. Most trucking schools have employment centers and can help you obtain a driving job after graduation. However, if you choose to have your own business by becoming an owner-operator, then you alone will be responsible for your forms and permits. You may want to consider having professional help in getting your own authority to ensure that your required paperwork and permits are done accurately.
Truck drivers are paid either by the load or on a per-mile basis. Although there are many advantages to being a truck driver, there are also some disadvantages as well. The hours can be long as truckers work to deliver goods by a certain deadline. Although they see the country, there usually isn’t time for sightseeing and meeting people due to the timeline crunch. Also, it can be lonely driving long stretches by yourself. However, many drivers have found that the advantages (such as being able to schedule your own hours) far outweigh any disadvantages that come with the profession.
If you enjoy video games, you may enjoy playing the trucking game by Sodesco. You can play it on PlayStation 4 as well as Xbox. It offers video gamers an enjoyable and fun truck driving experience while emphasizing many of the advantages and enjoyments truckers find in their careers.
Some of the important physical qualities that a truck driver must possess are good hand and eye coordination, good hearing and vision, as well as being reasonably physically fit. Certain conditions such as epilepsy and high blood pressure may prevent someone from becoming a truck driver. You may learn more about specific requirements by looking at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website for additional information.
One of the best ways to determine if the truck driving career is for you is by talking to other drivers. Many experienced operators will be glad to share their experiences with someone just learning the ropes. They can be a wealth of advice and encouragement to you—giving you tips on how to succeed as well as traps to avoid. Using another person’s experience is one of the best ways to learn about the industry and avoid (as much as possible) learning from the school of hard knocks.