Experts predict some 260,000 job openings annually for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers between 2021 and 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Interested in claiming one of those posts?Wondering how to become a truck driver with no experience? Use our helpful tips to kick-start your career in the trucking industry.
How to Become a Truck Driver with No Experience
The lure of the open road has long been part of the American Dream, so it’s only fitting that plenty of Americans carve out successful careers in the transportation industry as truck drivers. Since big trucks aren’t exactly everyday vehicles that the average person can take for a joy ride, you’ll need to discover how to become a truck driver with no experience if you’re interested in breaking into the field of professional driving. Fortunately, the information is readily available.
Prepare with Foundational Credentials
Before you begin your trucking journey, you’ll need to prepare a basic foundation. There are certain basic credentials that every trucker needs.
For starters, you’ll need to earn a standard, non-commercial driver’s license. Once you have this, take care to practice good driving habits and keep your record clean. You’ll also want to earn a high school diploma or GED. Since most companies require their drivers to have this credential, you’ll need one or the other.
In addition, you’ll need to have reached at least your 18th birthday. As The Trucker explains, the minimum age to earn a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, is 18. In some states, it’s 21. In fact, federal law currently bars drivers under 21 years old from operating trucks that are running interstate routes. Therefore, younger drivers will need to stick to local routes. However, the pressures of the driver shortage are pushing the government to create special programs that may lead to changes, so it’s important to pay attention to industry updates.
Obtain the Necessary Driver Training
Since the average person can’t borrow an 18-wheeler and take it for a spin when they want to practice parking or refine their handling, the only way to get a chance to learn to drive these vehicles is to participate in a driver training program. Some companies offer their own training programs, but then you’re generally contracted to drive for them for a specific period. A better option is often to attend classes at a private driving school or a community college.
Earn Your Commercial Driver’s License
With your training completed, you’re ready to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills required to operate a commercial vehicle safely. The details of earning a CDL will vary by state, but you’ll need to get yours before you can pursue your first job driving a truck.
See If Your School Offers Job Placement Assistance
Many educational institutions lure in future students with boasts of how easily their previous classes found employment. That’s part of the reason many offer assistance with job placement. It’s worth asking if the place where you received your training makes any effort to connect its graduates with employers.
Once you’ve completed your training and collected your credentials, it’s time to find that first job. While many positions will suggest that experience is required, you have to get your foot on the career ladder somehow. The first step is to apply widely to a variety of companies. Regardless of the vehicle or route that you get your start with, being a safe, responsible driver will allow you to move forward and build a career as a truck driver that you can be proud of.
Are you hoping to join the trucking industry? At BLC Transportation, we would be delighted to help you get your career rolling. 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!