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How to become a Truck Driver | Employment Info | Career Requirements | Driving School | Interview | Full Information

Although in every country, people who know the art of driving a truck are called truck drivers, in some countries, other than the truck driver, it is known by many names, such as a truck in the United States and Canada, called a teamster or driver. Known as, a truck driver in Australia and New Zealand, Ireland, United Kingdom, India, in Nepal, and in Pakistan is a lorry driver or driver who earns money by driving a truck as a livelihood truck driver.

How to become a truck driver | Employment Info | Career Requirements | Driving School | Interview | Full Information


Truck drivers make a huge contribution, typically providing their essential services in industrial communities and transporting and transporting raw materials to transportation plants, retail, and distribution centers.

Truck drivers are responsible for periodically inspecting all their vehicles for mechanical objects or safe handling problems of their trucks.

Truck Driving School Is Just The Beginning and solve the question of How to Become a Truck Driver

A career as a professional semi driver can open the door to a lifetime of job opportunities. And proper training is critical to your potential for success. There are several types of driving jobs available for industry professionals. It's important to understand the different types of jobs so you can pursue a path that will help you find the most enjoyment in your career.

CDL Career Possibilities

Company Drivers - These drivers work for trucking companies and drive equipment that is owned by the carrier employing them.

Owner Operators - These drivers own their own truck, tractor or trailer. They either contract with a company to haul for that company or they can haul loads for many companies. This type of driver is self-employed and is sometimes called an independent contractor.

Most recent truck driving school graduates begin their careers behind the wheel for a carrier, or what is often called a Company Driver. After you complete CDL training, you can start looking for opportunities that fit your life and career goals.

Starting your career as a driver can also prepare you for other types of roles at trucking companies. Your driving experience can prepare you for such roles as:

Driving recruiter

  • CDL training instructor
  • Dispatchers
  • Safety and compliance officer

And many more!

The first step is finding schools in your area to learn more about your potential career path in the trucking industry.

Checklist For Choosing a School

As you compare schools for training, consider these key factors:

Drive Time - How many hours will you spend behind the wheel of your tractor-trailer. The more time you spend, the better prepared you will be for your first job.

Length of School - Most CDL training schools last around 2 months. Some schools also offer night and weekend classes if you are working a daytime job. Make sure to check with the school to make sure the training fits into your schedule.

Location - Is the school close to home, or will you have to stay on-site during your training? Many schools have excellent facilities that are close to the school that you may stay in.

Job Placement - Does the school have a job placement department that will help get you hired? Many schools will help you land your first professional driving job.

What Should I Expect In School?

Specific training will vary depending on the school you choose, but generally, training is structured into a few topics, such as:

Classroom Learning - You will spend time in the classroom learning regulations, laws, logbooks, map reading, and many other skills necessary for your new career.

Driving Practice - Practicing is typically divided into 2 parts - range practice and driving in traffic. Range practice may include maneuvering the rig, shifting, backing, parking, and alley docking. These skills will be practiced until you are comfortable controlling the rig. Traffic practice will provide you with the opportunity to drive on local roads and highways to further develop your driving skills.

Pre-Trip Inspection - Learning a proper pre-trip inspection is a very important part of your training and an essential part of your Class A test. You will learn how to identify integral parts on your rig, and to make sure they are in proper working order.

Career Outlook for Professional Drivers and How to Become a Truck Driver

The career outlook for professional drivers is very bright according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment is expected to increase by 21% according to their data, which is higher than average for other careers. A variety of government sources and independent trucking professionals agree that there is a huge need for drivers, and that need will increase into the future.

Earn More Endorsements To Increase Your Potential as a Truck Driver

Endorsement tests are inexpensive to take and can help you qualify for additional driving positions. They typically consist of a written or driving test - sometimes both. We recommend earning as many as possible. You never know which one might land you your next job.

While some states differ in the endorsements they offer, the most common are:

  • Tanker Hauler
  • Hazmat Diver
  • Oversized Load Hauler
  • Transport Driver
  • Team Driver
  • OTR Driver
  • Instructor
  • Recruiter
  • Owner/Operator
  • Ice Road Trucker

Different types of freight may also affect your career. For example, certain specialized haulers (flatbed, cars, tankers, etc.) may have different opportunities and/or routes than regular dry van haulers. Make sure to consider getting additional training and/or endorsements that might help you advance as a specialized hauler.

If you're ready to hit the road as a professional driver, use Top Trucking Schools to find the right program. Use our simple zip search at the top of this page, or choose your state below for more information about your area.

Why Choose a Trucking Career

Why Choose a Trucking Career

In today’s market many people - men and women - are turning to new and challenging careers and reinventing themselves as truck drivers. Truck driving with all of its competitive benefits has come to the forefront, attracting people from all walks of life including doctors, college graduates, salespeople, bankers, and police officers. In addition, it is a reliable career offering flexibility, job diversity, and job security.

Trucking companies are reporting a deficiency in drivers to meet the increase in freight volumes demand, resulting in many openings needing to be filled. The trucking companies are seeking qualified applicants to occupy these positions. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, drivers earn between $11.63 and $27.07 per hour. Truck driving can be thought of as one of the most recession-proof industries that anyone could get into at the present. As long as there is a need for supply and demand and roads to travel on, goods will have to be shipped across the country to different places, denoting that truck drivers will forever be needed and will be the first to recover after an economic downward spiral. Other jobs may be in jeopardy and struggling, but there are plenty of jobs available in the truck driving industry.

In the coming years, the hiring practice will have to be increased to meet the demands according to the Bureau of Statistics; therefore, as the economy recovers, the trucking industry will continue to flourish. As manufacturing, production, and new orders increase, so will the need for more drivers. The trucking industry may have taken some bruises and bumps in the downturn, but if there is any doubt as to how it is doing, measure its success by the number of big rigs that are seen daily on the highway.

Truck Driving Schools can help you prepare and train for this exciting new career in a matter of a few months.

Types of Truck Driving Schools

There are three distinct types of Truck Driving Schools. They are private truck driving schools, public truck driving schools, and the third is a trucking company owned and operated program.

Private truck driving schools

Private truck driving schools are owned by corporations (both large and small). They provide training for new drivers and help potential drivers earn their CDL License. Private schools are often known for high training standards and provide in-depth training in a relatively short period of time. Many private trucking schools also offer some form of financing and/or tuition assistance to help drivers get started. It is also not uncommon to have a strong placement service at private trucking schools to help you find a job.

Private trucking schools also often have accreditations to make sure they meet minimal standards of training. This ensures quality and thorough education from these institutions.

Public Truck Driving Schools

Public Truck Driving Schools are funded by local or state governments to provide truck driving training. The most common examples of these schools include community colleges or vocational schools. Publicly funded trucking schools offer quality education at a reasonable price. Most community college trucking programs, however, take longer to complete than privately run or trucking company based trucking schools.

Trucking Company Truck Driving Schools

Trucking Company Truck Driving Schools

Trucking Company Truck Driving Schools are owned and operated by a specific trucking company to provide training to their drivers. Company run schools focus on both driving skills and skills specific to working for that particular company. In addition, many companies will sponsor your training so long as you work for them for a set period of time upon graduation. Other companies will allow you to pay back to the cost of your tuition through weekly payroll deductions. Another benefit to this type of school is that you’re literally guaranteed a job upon graduation, making the trucking job search less stressful.

Categories and Types of Truck Drivers

Company Drivers and Owner Operators can both be in the following categories

  • Auto Haulers work on special trailers designed to haul cars... certain skills are required to drive auto haulers
  • Flat Bed drivers haul large, bulky items such as large steel pipes, tanks, and lumber... they must be able to balance heavy loads
  • Dry Van drivers haul the mainly non-perishable items
  • Reefer drivers haul refrigerated items and frozen goods
  • Household Goods drivers haul household items; usually for people moving from one place to another
  • Regional drivers usually drive within the surrounding states and are not away from home long periods
  • OTR (Over the Road) drivers cover larger distances than regional drivers and can be away from home for a week or more.
  • Tanker drivers haul liquids such as milk in large liquid containers and they also need balancing skills to deal with the shifting weight of the liquid they are hauling
  • Some Truck Driving Schools offer specific training in these categories, however, most drivers use on job training to acquire the necessary skills.

Things to Consider Before Starting a Truck Driving Career

The decision to pursue a career as a professional truck driver is very important.  Many new drivers want to know if they have what it takes to become a professional driver. 

The following is a list of items to consider when contemplating a career in the trucking industry:

Requirements For Truck Driving or Basic Requirements to attend Truck Driving School

  • Applicants 21 years old are suitable for making truck drivers.
  • Applicants should have their valid state CDL which they declare as their permanent domicile.
  • Applicants must have a valid driving license and conform to the rules of Homeland Security / Transportation Administration.
  • If the applicant can submit the driving work history for the last 5 years, the previous employers and references are also checked and verified.
  • There should be a record of previous employers not leaving the truck due to negligence.
  • Applicants must successfully complete preparatory classes for contractors or orientation for employees.
  • It is mandatory to have excellent hearing and vision.
  • Any medical problem or condition that will not interfere with trucking capabilities according to federal regulations
  • A Relatively clean driving record.
  • A Stable employment history.
  • Relatively good health, with no issues with drugs or alcohol, or major physical impairments.
  • The desire to travel and be away from home

Training

  • You should have sufficient funds (or access to loans to cover school).
  • After graduation, you will enter into an over the road training where you drive with a trainer.  This training will last 4 to 8 weeks, depending on how quickly you learn.

Lifestyle Change

  • Make sure your family members understand this career and are fully supportive of your decision.
  • Make plans to stay in touch. You may want to increase your cell phone plan and/or bring a laptop or other portable computer (such as a tablet) on the road to stay in touch.

Additional Skills Professional Truck Drivers Need 

If you've decided on trucking as your future career, then you've chosen a role in a vital part of the economy. But before you can get started, you'll need to obtain a Commercial Driver's License, master some basic skills, and develop habits that will ensure your success. Although excellent driving skills form the basis of what you'll need there's much more to know that takes place other than behind the wheel. A good trucking school will emphasize this.

Few people understand the role that paperwork plays in successfully handling truck driving jobs. Updated logbooks have to be presented on request to law enforcement agents at weigh stations. Detailed listings of cargo ensure that items are received and paid for. If you're working for a company, they'll want receipts for tolls, gas, and lodging in order for you to be compensated for you're out of pocket expenses.

Choosing the best route is a critical factor in determining whether many truck driving jobs end in profit or loss. Good map reading skills and an up to date understanding GPS devices will help you choose the most fuel-efficient route in delivering your load. This is especially important if you have a mixed load requiring multiple stops. A well-planned route also ensures that you meet your deadlines.

Trucking also demands attention to time management. Every load will have its specific pick-up time and will carry a delivery deadline that must be met. A driver has to be able to develop a workable schedule that gets everything delivered on time even when deadlines conflict with each other. Not meeting a deadline can result in a financial penalty and continued failures can lead to a loss of jobs. Likewise, consistently meeting deadlines can lead to more jobs and even bonuses.

Above all, a driver has to be safe. Concerns about safety touch every part of a driver's daily routine. It starts before the trip by making sure you are well-rested. A tired driver is a danger to himself and others. It continues with the inspection of your vehicle. Also, a driver has to understand his cargo and its potential hazards. He has to see it loaded so it doesn't shift during delivery and cause a dangerous situation. Safety issues are included when the route is planned, too. A good route will allow for rest stops and sleep periods so you can be alert.

Trucking can be an exciting career, but it takes much more than just the ability to drive. A good trucking school will teach the student about paperwork, route planning, and time management while stressing the importance of safety on and off the road.

How Truckers Find Loads

Most professional drivers are paid for every mile they drive while loaded, so it is crucial that drivers find loads to pick up that are close to their current location. Getting loads picked up efficiently means that the driver doesn't have to wait around and not be paid for their time.

Types of Drivers

The two main types of professional drivers are company drivers and owner-operators. Company drivers contact their company's dispatch to get their loads. Some trucks are dispatched through a computer system in the truck, while other drivers get information about the loads they need to deliver by phone or fax machine.

Each driver is responsible for getting all of the information they need, such as the name of the shipper, the address of the pickup and drop-off locations, and the weight of the load they will be hauling. If the truck has a flatbed trailer, the driver needs to know if the load needs to be tarped. Each driver needs a bill of lading number to track each load so that they don't pick up a load that was meant for a different driver.

Owner-Operator Loads

Professional drivers who own their trucks are responsible for booking their own loads. This can be a good thing because the driver has ultimate control over the loads he takes and doesn't have to take any load that he doesn't want to take. The problem is that the driver is not only responsible for driving the truck, he is also in charge of booking every load the truck hauls.

Leasing with a Company

One of the simple options for an owner-operator that needs to book loads is to lease on with a company that provides the loads for them. Their loads are booked through the company's dispatch, just like the company driver's loads. Many companies provide the trailers that their loads are hauled on, even for the trucks that are leased to their company. The company pays the owner-operator a certain rate per mile and sometimes pays a fuel surcharge in addition to their mileage. The owner-operator is responsible for their own taxes, insurance, fuel, and other business expenses.

Booking Loads Directly

Professional drivers can often make more money if they find their own customers to carry loads for, but this is difficult to do. Drivers can advertise their services in the newspapers and on the internet to gain new customers, but most large companies have a hard time trusting an independent truck driver to carry their loads. They are likely to contract with a large carrier that has the ability to run as many loads as they need, all over the country. Drivers who can get regular direct customers typically make more money than those who work with a broker or lease to a company because the company or broker doesn't take a cut from the money for the load.

Working with a Broker

Many owner-operators work with load brokers to find loads for their trucks. They call the broker and tell them where their truck is and what kind of trailer they have. The broker gives the driver information about the loads they have available that pick up close to their current location. Owner-operators are not paid for their mileage when they are empty, so it is important to find a load that is picking up as close to their location as possible. The broker tells the driver the rate they will be paid for hauling the load as well as the load's destination.

Online Load Boards

Using online load boards is very similar to working with a broker, except that the driver usually pays a monthly fee to use the site, even if they don't get any loads from it. The loads are listed according to the type of trailer and starting point. The driver clicks on a load for more information and there is usually a phone number listed so the driver can contact the company about each load.

Some professional drivers lease on with a company so that they don't have to worry about finding their own loads. Other drivers use a combination of online load boards, working with a broker and booking their loads directly. Each owner-operator needs to analyze their expenses and decide if the amount each load pays is enough for them to make a profit.

Why go to Truck Driving School?

Why go to Truck Driving School?

There's Always a Need for Recent Graduates of Truck Driving Schools:

Have you ever wondered how most things you buy get to their destination? You guessed it - trucks!

There’s an old saying – "if you bought it, a trucker brought it" and never has there been a time, in this era of mass consumerism and B2B trading, that this phrase has rang more true in America. With so many trucks out there, delivering so many goods to people and businesses across the country, there’s a steady need and demand for truck driving jobs.

Truck driving accounts for one of the most populated industries to work in, and yet – truck drivers jobs are still one of the five fastest-growing professions in the nation – even in times of economic and social recession. That gives rise to another important fact: truck driving is a highly stable career compared to most other jobs. Why is this? For starters – there aren’t enough truckers to fulfill the growing demand, making an experienced truck driver a very valuable commodity. Secondly, nearly everything you purchase, from toothpicks to automobiles, is transported by a truck driver at some point. All businesses depend on the trucking industry jobs to keep their businesses rolling.

This gives you an idea of how in-demand trucking jobs are. This means that once you get your CDL through one of the many Truck Driving Schools, you should always have a job somewhere.

Frequently asked questions from students considering truck driving school:

How much money can I make as a truck driver?

Once you finish CDL Training, You can expect to earn between Most drivers earned from $15.00 to $22.00 per hour according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Why is a truck driving such a stable career?

For starters, there aren't enough drivers to fulfill the growing demand, making an experienced driver a very valuable commodity. Secondly, nearly everything you purchase, from toothpicks to automobiles, is transported by a truck at some point. All businesses depend on the truck driver to keep their businesses rolling. CDL Training is also relatively quick, with most schools only lasting a few months.

What are my options for Financing?

Financing options may be available for those who qualify. There are many programs offered through the schools themselves through various loan sources.

Do I need any experience to apply?

No. Trucking Schools are in the business to train you to begin a great professional driving career. Not only that, reputable truck driving schools' number one priority is to make you able to pass the state CDL requirements with flying colors.

Finally, here are some impressive facts about the trucking industry and why a truck driving school might be for you:

  • Truck driving is one of the highest-paying new careers around. New truck drivers can make up to $37,000, and with a couple years of experience can earn over $50,000. Even more, owner-operators average a gross income of $100,000 per year.
  • Entry-level truck driving opportunities require a short training period – typically you will only spend up to 6 months in entry-level truck driving positions.
  • Job stability - truck drivers are always in demand.
  • There are approximately 1.4 million trucking companies in the U.S.
  • The U.S., even in our current recession, is still experiencing a shortage of truck drivers.
  • This shortage is expected to continue through at least 2021.
  • Trucking provides a wide variety of opportunities and career choices – from O/O to LTR and OTR.
  • Truck driving jobs are projected to grow 9% from 2018 through 2020 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. (approx)

How to Interview for a Trucking Job

Once you complete your CDL training, the next step is interviewing for a trucking job. The truck driving school you attend will often help set up interviews, but it is up to you to earn the position through a great interview.

How to Interview for a Trucking Job


What Do Trucking Companies Look For?

In order to ace a trucking interview, it's important to be fully prepared with a summary of past experience and extraneous responsibilities and duties for each previous trucking job. In addition to cdl licensing, any additional CDL supplemental training courses completed should be introduced to the interview process. Be aware that the reputation of the former trucking employers is as important as prior trucking experience. The interviewing company may contact former employers for references and are fully aware of their competitors. If prior bonding or special certifications apply, these should be presented to the future employer. These issues comprise some of the things trucking companies look for in potential employees. Obviously, a good to excellent driver and safety record is a definite asset.

The Day Of The Interview

In the less formal world of trucking interviews, it's important to project a calm attitude. Leave your nervous tension at home. To the interviewer, a nervous job applicant maybe a nervous truck driver. Choose comfortable clothes that are neat and casual. This will help reduce stress during the interview. Make good eye contact with the interviewer for a good first impression. Allow the interviewer to direct the course of the interview. If you presented a resume prior to the interview, in all likelihood questions the interviewer poses will be based upon resume content. Be prepared to expand upon resume content as well as any documentation or commendations regarding CDL training or additional trucking-related certifications. Don't forget documents relating to special safe driving awards.

Interviewing For a Trucking Job

The most important part of the interview for a trucking job is communicating experience with driving various types of rigs, knowledge of trucking routes, over-the-road jobs and time management, and expediency. These elements are the nuts and bolts of a trucking interview. Problem-solving skills are another factor of a trucking interview. Difficulties may arise while driving related to mechanical vehicle failures or repairs as well as the actual pick up or drop logistics problems. Trucking companies want to know their drivers can handle problems and resolve them quickly and without creating cancellations of shipments or deliveries.

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