You see them everywhere. Those big semi’s that seem to take up the entire road and always drive “way to slow.” Just a reminder, there are actual people inside those trucks! Truck drivers who dedicate their life to being on the road. Their responsibilities are making sure the clothing we wear, the produce we eat, and the vehicles we drive arrive at their destinations in time for us to purchase them. They, without a doubt, keep America moving!
Now the question is, do you want to be a part of the movement and become a truck driver?
According to the American Trucking Association, there is an estimate of 3.5 MILLION truck drivers. 3.5 Million! And that is WITH the massage driver shortage we are currently experiencing. It’s safe to say the demand is high, so if you’re wondering how to become a truck driver or why you should, this article will provide you with everything you need to know.
How to Become a Truck Driver
The first step is getting your CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). To do so, you need to meet all of the following requirements:
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Have a clean driving record
- Have a social security card, passport, or birth certificate
- Be physically healthy
- Have valid DOT card
Once you can put a check mark next to each of the above necessities, it’s time to find a truck driving training program or a truck driver school. Either of these will lead you on your way to becoming a truck driver. The difference between the two is that the training programs are offered by companies, who can have tuition reimbursement and allow you to work while completely the training. If your situation does not make this possible, you can find a school of your choice. Truck driver schools are all over the U.S. You can simply google “truck driver school near me” and the options will be there. Truck-drivers-to-be can expect a training course to take anywhere from 7-10 weeks, and can cost you anywhere from $3,000-$10,000. At the end of your training course, you will take a written and physical driving exam.
After you pass, hello CDL graduate!! You’re on your way to becoming a trucker.
Land the job. And the great news is that drivers are in high demand! It’s every person’s dream to have options, and you will have plenty. So, like with any job, do your research! Do you know someone in the business you could get advice from? Or maybe a family member or a friend can put you in touch with one? Furthermore, see what’s available in your area, read up on companies stories, their culture, and what they stand for. You’ll also want to see if companies offer benefits like:
- 401K retirement plan
- Medical, dental and vision insurance
- Paid-time off
- Tuition reimbursement (in case the future calls for more learning/training)
Embrace the first year on the job. Become a sponge and gain as much knowledge, insight and skill as you can. Because of being a first year driver, the delivery routes and schedule may be less than favorable. Usually those who have been their longer and have more experience are able to choose their routes. However, it is important to not lose sight of the end goal. In the meantime, get your experience with driving, ride-along with other drivers if possible, adjust to your new lifestyle and stay focused. Do your best and you will continue to see the benefits of being a U.S. truck driver!
Why To Become A Truck Driver
Truck drivers are one of the most common jobs in America. The reasons below will make sense as to why that is:
- Job security
- Financial stability
- Sense of freedom
- the love of driving
- Meeting people from all different backgrounds
- Entrepreneurship possibilities down the road
When asked why one should become a truck driver, Allstate Peterbilt’s very own truck driver, Drew, answered “Job security. There will always be a driving job out there somewhere. The financial aspect. Driving jobs pay well and you also have a certain aspect of freedom. You don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder.”
Along with these motivating reasons to become a truck driver, the opportunity to grow your skill set and be able to haul various kinds of loads is intriguing enough in itself. From reefer trailers to tanker trucks to bull haulers, with experience, you could try them all. Furthermore, after a few years, becoming a trainer for truck drivers or even buying your own truck could become a part of your future goals.
Finally, it may seem like there are a quite a few stereotypes around truck drivers and the industry as a whole… thanks Joy Ride. Drew said some of the stereotypes that come up for him are that “we don’t work hard, we are lazy, and inconsiderate of the road. Truck drivers can and do drive at a minimum of 11 hours/day. They have paperwork to fill out and other things that are necessary components of the job. Some truck drivers work 14-15 hours a day between driving, stops, unloading, and paperwork.” Hence, don’t believe everything you hear.
It may not be a job for everyone, but it is a job for the ever-patient, self-dependent, and reliable men and women of our country! If that’s you, and you want to be a part of the Allstate family, apply here today!