How Do I Become a Truck Driver?
Most careers start depending on what your undergraduate degree is. If it’s human resources, then chances are companies will hire you for that specific skill. A truck driver however, is a career that can be pursued by anyone willing to be on the road, and is physically fit for the job. A career on this can start from simply answering online practice tests that involve obtaining commercial driving licenses (CDL). In doing so, you become familiar with the things you have to deal with when driving these giant vehicles.
Steps to Become a Truck Driver
This is a general rundown on how you can become a truck driver, but you can also create your own process, depending on what works for you.
1. Do your research
There are a lot of reasons why someone may want to try truck driving, but like any other profession, there are pros and cons of the job. A truck driver needs to be physically and mentally fit. These are actually minimum requirements set forth by the state so make sure to check on that online. If you do fit all the criteria, then your CDL is already one step closer.
2. Look for a training school
There are cases wherein people tend to DIY the process of obtaining a commercial license and finding a job. But if you really want an investment on pursuing a truck driving career, a training school is the best way to go. A certified program makes the process easier. They provide you with all the necessary information you need to pass the written and hands on parts of the tests. The areas to review for are wide subjects. Knowing which ones to review exactly would save you time and effort.
3. Choose which type of truck are you planning on having a career with
You might think that a truck driver is generally one job, but this is actually a collection of varied specializations that you should be aware of. To start with, make sure to research on the commercial driving license you’d be applying for. Your CDL should be coherent or relative to the line of work in trucking that you want to pursue, e.g. hazardous materials transport, short distance hauling, long distance hauling, passenger transport, tests for such are separated into license classes and other endorsements, so you might want to be familiar with your options.
4. Research on additional endorsements
The good thing about a CDL is that it is always upgradeable. Even if you opted for a different license in the starting process you can apply for another class license once your budget allows. Apart from this, you should also research on endorsements you may want to add to your driving. If you’re eyeing for a particular job position, know the requirements and demands of the job. Focus your application and training on areas specializing and particular to that job.
5. Study and pass the written exam
As mentioned earlier, the written part of the exam can be overwhelming. But there are three major parts that sums up the test; general knowledge, airbrakes, and combination vehicles. If you enrolled in a training school, after reading the materials given, answer sample tests to test your learning.
6. Study and pass the practical driving exam
This part of the test should be handled with care, and never with nervousness. This is the main reason why a starting truck driver should invest on a good driving school. The practical or hands on part of the exam becomes easier when you get sufficient practice on the road, and taught by experts on the field. It gives you the opportunity to ask questions and get quick answers.
7. Find a job
Once you’ve secured your license, you may want to come back to the particular job position you were eyeing before you started the whole process. If this is already not available, research on companies that cater the same line of business and take your chance on that.
If you did enroll in a driving school for the process, chances are they offer bridging programs to find you a job right after obtaining your license. Take advantage of this offer as these companies are already partners with your school. This is already an assurance of an environment catered to your CDL.
8. Weigh your options
There instances however, wherein there are downsides however to job placements made by a training school. An example would be a low starting salary because of inexperience. Before you do accept an offer, make sure to research on other openings and of course the salary average. Make sure you are not being taken advantage of.
9. Know when it’s time to grow and move forward
Most truck drivers stay with their first company for a couple of years. Afterwards, they search to find new ones that will help their career grow. Though your salary increases relative to your years of stay in the company, do not limit your driving profession with just one area of the discipline. Keep on moving forward once you feel like it.