Are you thinking about joining the transportation community? Does seeing your state, country or neighboring countries sound appealing? Do you love the open road? Do you enjoy spending time by yourself? Do you like managing your own hours? Becoming a truck driver is a great entry point into the industry. One thing is also sure, there has continually been a shortage of drivers over the last 20 years and that means there is job security.
What are the pros and cons of truck driving. There are many different types of driving. From local delivery to within your own state or local area and then to across state lines and even countries. All of these different types of driving have different tradeoffs and so it is best to think about what you need out of a job and what you are willing to sacrifice. Things to think about are if you want to be home every night or are willing to be on the road for several weeks at a time. Pay can also vary based on what type of driving you do, with more money in longer drive times.
First there are eligibility requirements, you must be at least 18 years old. To drive across state lines you must be 21 years old. You must have had a regular driver’s license for at least 1 year and it must be in good standing. You must have a high school diploma or a passed GED. Then you must pass physical and medical tests and apply for your CDL (Commercial Driving License) permit. For a very in depth look at all the requirements and the different types of CDL licenses read this Smart Trucker article.
Once you have made it through the eligibility requirements you will need to find a CDL School. There are a few different ways to do this, and pros and cons to both. Company sponsored programs tend to be recommended due to their cost, which is typically free and their commitment to you. Public schools, like those run by Community Colleges do not guarantee you a job but they do allow you to see if this is a good fit for you. For a comprehensive guide to thinking about these types of schools follow this chart from CDL Life.