As the market economy has grown powerfully over the past few years, a greater number of goods and consignments need to be transported throughout the country to meet the demands of the market, thus making truck driving an increasingly important job nowadays. Besides, this job has a reasonable salary with steady pay rise. Therefore, it is really a good option for anyone seeking a job that pays well and doesn’t require a high-level education degree.
However, this job has some drawbacks that may affect your family life, so you need to consider very carefully before putting yourself into the truck-driving world. It isn’t just a job in which you go to the office in the morning and head home in the evening for your family. You may have to haul a large consignment across the country and may be far away from home for several months to finish the job. Sometimes you have to leave home at midnight to start the trip, so it really affects your family life. Then, how to become a truck driver?
Truck Driver Requirements
In order to become a truck driver in the US, you need to meet some requirements as follows:
- At least 21 years old. Some states allow 18-year-old truck drivers for intrastate trips only. If you want to haul cargo across state borders, you must be at least 21 years old.
- Holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL). CDL is required for driving over-26000-pound trucks, hazardous material hauling or oversized loads. You can apply for CDL in many driver training centers and driver management offices.
- Passing the physical and medical examination for truck drivers.
- Having a decent driving record. If you have bad driving history with accidents, DUI charges or any other traffic law violations, it may prevent you from obtaining the CDL, thus making you unable to become a truck driver.
- Knowing exactly which category of truck driver you are applying for. There are various categories and you need to understand the job you want to be in. For example, we have freight hauler, construction hauler, hazardous hauler, tank hauler, flat bed hauler, etc.
Becoming A Truck Driver
Those are the requirements for the job, here are some steps for you on how to become a truck driver in the US:
- Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of the trucking job. Long hours of driving and hauling expensive cargo on the back can really put huge pressure on you and sometimes it will wear you down during the trip. Being far away from family for a long time may do some harm to the relationships, so if you are married, you need to discuss this with your spouse in order to understand each other and avoid negative influence.
- Seek for local truck driver training programs or driving training centers to learn about trucking and obtain knowledge and skills for the job. Some trucking companies may offer trainings and courses for applicants into their companies, but it is quite risky as you may fail during the course and then it will be quite useless as those trainings are specific to the companies only.
- Know which type of truck driver you want to become and apply for a course at a training center.
- Apply for a medical exam, particularly the DOT Medical Exam, in order to certify yourself as a qualified truck driver with good health and physical status. The DOT Medical Card must be kept valid at all time because without the presence of the Card or in case of its expiry, your CDL will be invalid.
- Apply for the CDL Exam and do your best to earn it. The CDL, accompanied by the DOT Medical Card, will enable you to apply to trucking companies and start your truck-driving career.
- Seek companies that are recruiting truck drivers and present your certifications. With those documents and a clean record, you will not have much difficulty in landing on a trucking job and your career will commence from this point.
- Gain experience through trips. The more you drive, the more experience you will have. Now you have put yourself well into the truck-driving world.
I hope that this article is useful enough for you on how to become a truck driver. This is a well-paid job with great traveling experience, yet it is quite demanding in terms of physical endurance and family issues. Therefore, you need to think twice before stepping into this job.