Exploring a Career as a Truck Driver
Whether you’re searching for your first career or your fifth, the idea of driving a big truck can be intriguing. With the constant need to move freight across the country, truck drivers are a vital part of the U.S. economy, so they’re in high demand. If you’d like to explore the possibilities, you likely have several questions. How do you become a truck driver? How long does it take to become a truck driver? What perks come with the job?
Becoming a Truck Driver
There are many paths to becoming a truck driver. However, many employers have similar hiring requirements. Before you invest in training, it’s smart to check that you’ll be able to meet the basic requirements.
For starters, you’ll need at least a high school diploma or GED, a regular driver’s license, and a clean driving record driving. You should also be healthy enough to operate a truck safely. In addition, age can be a factor. Many companies have a minimum age on the books for their drivers. Federal law sets a minimum age of 21 for interstate truck drivers, according to DMV.org. Younger drivers may be able to gain government permission for interstate routes by participating in the Safe Drive Apprenticeship Pilot Program. However, many companies prefer to hire drivers with more experience navigating the roads.
Obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License
A commercial driver’s license, or CDL, is an essential element in your quest to become a truck driver. How do you obtain a CDL? The exact procedure varies by state. Generally, your best course is to find a truck driving program. These programs can be found at private schools or community colleges. Some trucking companies will also run their own programs.
Weigh your options carefully when choosing a program. Look at the cost of the program, the length of the program, and exactly what it offers. Most truck driving programs will help you get your commercial driving permit and qualify to take the commercial driving test. Some may also provide job placement assistance. Programs run by trucking companies may require a commitment to work for the company for a specific period.
Timing Your Journey
How long does it take to become a truck driver? That varies depending on the truck driving program that you choose. Company-sponsored programs tend to be the shortest. They often last around four to six weeks. Offerings from private schools and community colleges range from intensive courses that run from 10 weeks to six months to longer to comprehensive courses that include more credentials and take up to a year to complete.
Discovering the Perks
When considering any career, it’s natural to wonder about the perks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is quick to point out that driving a truck can bring several desirable benefits:
- Expansive job prospects
- Competitive pay enriched with bonuses
- Flexible schedules
- Interesting travel opportunities
- Desirable benefits like retirement plans, health insurance, and life insurance
- Enviable independence and control of the work environment
Truck drivers enjoy a workplace where the view is always changing. Although they may have to meet deadlines and maintain safety standards, they also have a great deal of independence about how they manage their time along the way. Their cab is their corner office, and while they’re behind the wheel, they’re the boss. It’s a balance of responsibility and freedom that many truckers find incredibly refreshing.
If you’re considering a career in truck driving, talk to people already in the industry. You’ll discover a thriving culture with plenty of room for growth. If you’re ready to climb behind the wheel, contact BLC Transportation Inc. today.
At BLC Transportation, we’re convinced that being a truck driver is worth it. Hoping to become a truck driver? Contact us today. We have opportunities for both company drivers and lease-purchase drivers. With our lease-purchase program, you can make 90 percent of the line haul while driving new trucks that provide comfort, fuel efficiency, and reliability. Plus, we offer bonuses and incentives, a health insurance subsidy, a friendly passenger/pet policy, assistance with registering for an LLC, and more. Join our team today!