There are many people in the United States who want to become over the road truck drivers. There are certain steps someone needs to take before becoming an over the road truck driver. There are several ways that one can learn to become a truck driver, we’ll look at each of these below. When considering this career opportunity, a prospective candidate needs to do his or her own due diligence.
Driving a big rig is something that is a privilege, not a right. Before anyone will let you drive a truck, you’ll need to obtain a Commercial Drivers License or CDL as they’re called. You’ll also be required to take a DOT physical as part of your CDL requirement. But before you’re actually be able to take the CDL test, you’ll need to actually learn how to drive a truck because your CDL test will be in two parts. A written test and a driving test. You’ll have to pass both if you want to get your CDL and drive trucks for a living.
Ways To Learn How To Drive Trucks
1. Truck Driving Schools
When a person goes to truck diving school to learn how to drive the big rigs, the school will teach the person the many new rules of the road to follow once behind the wheel. During truck driving drivers training the school will explain about the brake system on the big truck. The brake system on the big trucks is usually an air brake system. The truck driver will be checking the air pressure in the brakes at the rest stop, just. The truck driver checks the pressure in the tires. Truck driving school is not much different from regular driving school was. However many people are intimidated if the person has to go to truck driving school. Many people do not know what to expect while in truck driving school.
Truck driving school has a fee just like any other school. The fee to learn how to drive a big rig is usually less than $10,000. This fee usually covers all materials, and the cost of the CDL license. There are two different types of CDL licenses a person can achieve. There is a CDL class A license, and there is a CDL class B license. The license class you choose will determine how much tuition will be. If you are going to learn to drive trucks that have hazardous material on them you will always pay a higher tuition cost than if you were learning to drive trucks that did not have hazardous material on them.
2. On The Job Training – Trucking Company Training for New Drivers
You don’t have to go pay a truck driving school to learn how to become a truck driver, that’s just a myth. An option that is popular with many people who’ve never drove trucks or people who don’t have the money for Truck Driving School tuition is to sign on with a company and enroll in their company training program. While some trucking companies have in house training, others will foot the bill for you to attend a truck driving school if you agree to sign on with them for a set amount of time, for example, a two year stint.
The advantage of this program is that there is little to no upfront cost for you and you learn a skill. You’ll also learn that particular companies policy as you’re learning to drive big rigs.
3. Truck Driving Apprenticeships
Many people think you have to go to truck driving school in order to take your CDL. This isn’t true. All the DOT wants to know is if you know how to drive a big rig safely and if you have a good understanding of the rules of the road and the laws.
If you can find another truck driver to train you, then you can forget about attending a truck driving school and get some much needed on the job training. But to be honest, finding someone who will train you is rare, but it is done. The trick is finding someone who is willing to train you.
What Happens After Truck Driving School?
If you graduate from a truck driving school, then you can start looking for employment. In many cases, if you’ve chose a good school, the truck driving school will have a job placement to help place their graduates in jobs. But your training isn’t over the minute you walk out of the school. In fact, it’s just beginning!
If you’re a new driver, chances are good that any company that hires you will require you to take several trips with the company trainer. This is so they can evaluate what you know about driving trucks and delivering freight. The same is true if you graduate from a company sponsored in-house training. You’ll be required to take a few trips with a trainer who will evaluate you on your truck driving skills.
How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?
This is a popular question and just like any other profession, the income varies by experience and by which company you work for. The pay for a new trucker will range in the $25k to $35k per year range. As you become more experienced and if you maintain a good driving record and have a high on-time delivery record, you can expect your pay to increase over time. Many truck drivers make around $50k per year and a lot of the trucking companies have very good insurance programs as well as other good benefits.
The trucking industry is a competitive one and that means good news for truck drivers. Companies compete with one another to try and attract the top new drivers as well as experienced drivers. Big companies know the benefit of retaining good drivers and are willing to shell out the money to insure they keep the good ones. Learning how to become a truck driver isn’t hard and it just may be the rewarding career you’ve been looking for!
What Kind of Truck Driving Jobs Are Available To Me?
When most people think of driving trucks for a living, they immediately think about long haul or “over the road” truckers. But there are different types of trucking jobs. Some of these are
Over the Road Truck Drivers
These drivers are known as long haul truck drivers because they may have to travel several hundred miles, or several thousand, to reach their destination. It may take days or even a week or more to get to where they have to deliver their loads.
Regional Truck Drivers
There are truck drivers who only travel in a specific region. Say like a tri-state area. They get home nearly every night or every other night and most will get weekends off. They generally don’t make as much as long haul truckers because they don’t put in as many miles. But the time off more than makes up for it if you’re a family person.
As the name implies, this is a situation where two people work as a team to deliver loads. Usually these are long haul truck drivers and since one team member normally sleeps while the other drives, they can deliver their loads quicker. They also rack up many more miles than a single driver. But remember, pay is split.
Dedicated Truck Driving Jobs
Let’s say you have a big auto parts company that needs to get pars from a vender 300 miles away. Your trucking has a contract to bring the parts from the vendor to the Auto Parts company every day. This is called dedicated truck driving or Just In Time (JIT). Many companies have these positions but since these are regularly scheduled runs, they are prized by older, more experienced drivers and can be hard for a newbie to get.
As you can see, there are many truck driving opportunities for someone who is willing to put forth the effort. As I said earlier, it’s pretty easy for someone to learn how to become a truck driver and in this economy, it’s one of the few industries that is still hiring and training new people.