Many people don’t realize that becoming a truck driver is much more than committing to a job; it’s committing to a lifestyle. The trucking life has many benefits, but they don’t come without some effort (and sacrifice depending on your perspective). To fulfill your dream of being a truck driver, you’ll need to meet various requirements before hitting the road.
Before diving into what it takes to become a truck driver, let’s review some of the reasons why it can be a great career choice.
Why become a truck driver?
The trucking industry has a lot to offer prospects, like:
- Flexibility: Many companies offer drivers the chance to choose what types of drives they make (cross-country, long-distance, or local).
- Stable pay: Bonuses, increased pay and other benefits, especially for long-haul drivers, are common in many trucking companies.
- See new places: Get out of an office and hit the road to explore new scenery everyday, seeing points of interest along the way.
- Job security: There’s currently a shortage of drivers meaning the industry is in high-demand for new drivers.
Do these sound good to you? Here are some steps to start your new career as a truck driver.
Get your CDL: This is the first and most important step in becoming a truck driver. You’ll need a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) which you can get through a training program. These training schools can cost you anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000 but think of it as an investment in your future. Rules and requirements vary across regions.
Examine the Lifestyle: We’ve highlighted some of the benefits of becoming a truck driver, but the reality is this isn’t the job for everyone. Irregular sleep patterns, high stress due to delivery times, and time away from family are just a few of the inconveniences that come with the territory. Take some time to seriously consider these obstacles and decide if it’s something you can handle.
Spotless Driving Record: When you’re looking for job driving a truck, companies are going to look at your driving record. While the occasional parking ticket won’t matter too much, things like reckless driving or speeding will be a red flag for many freight carriers. They want to ensure that you will move their freight across the country without incident.
Comply With Industry Requirements: Find out what, if any, exams are mandatory before becoming a professional truck driver. You’ll need to take and pass any written or physical (typically hearing and eyesight) exams required by law. Be sure to stay on top of the renewal periods and retake exams when necessary.
As you consider if this is the lifestyle you want for yourself, work through our points above. Ready to make truck driving your career? We hope our simple guide offered clarity that you can use as you begin the process. Once you’ve fulfilled all the requirements, you can get to work by signing up for Free Freight Search’s Load Board.