A truck driver career is one that provides a bit of flexibility to individuals. It allows you to know exactly what you will do each day, where you will be working, and it also gives you a set schedule of hours you will work per week. Additionally, it can be a lucrative career if you have the right license, and if you dedicate enough time to the career field that you choose to work in.
Establish a Career in Trucking
If you are interested in learning how to become a truck driver and have a career in the trucking industry, the first thing you have to do is:
Attend Driving School
so you can get the help you need, in order to pass the exam, and learn how to drive the trucks. It is important to find a school that will help you with job placement, and will help you with what you need to know in terms of working in the field.
The more you know before you go in to the truck driver career, the easier it is going to be to transition in to the field, to do the work, and to learn the ropes, when you do finally pass the exam, and are getting ready to work in this field and line of work.
Get your CDL
When you complete truck driving school, you’ve essentially learned how to drive a truck. After this, you should take the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) exam, which comprises of both a road skills test and a written test. When you obtain a CDL, the opportunities to land a good job are higher compared to truck drivers without a CDL. The more endorsements you get, the more specialized and lucrative your trucking career can be.
Is Training Required?
To work in the truck driver career field, there really isn’t any requirement in place for training; but, individuals who are truly serious about the position and want to find a great job, will undergo truck driving school training.
Not only will a great school prepare you for driving the truck, and learning the ropes, it is also going to teach you the classroom skills you need, in order to pass the written exam.
In any position as a truck driver, you will have to pass the CDL exam to receive your commercial driving license, whether it’s Class A, B, or C.
But, if you want to do well, and find great job placement, you will consider going to truck driving school, and learning the ropes from the best, and individuals who have worked in the industry and can give you insight as to what a truck driver career is truly like.
As a starting truck driver, your class license, where you work, whether you do interstate or intrastate travel, and other factors will dictate your earnings.
But, for most drivers, you can expect to earn about $30,000, on the low end, when you are working with heavier fleet trucks. This is a decent starting salary, especially considering the fact that you do not need a four year degree, and can get the required training in about one month’s time.
Depending on the employer, and additional benefits, some starting pay rates can reach up to about $40,000 in many fields, and with the class A or C license.
Experienced drivers, and those who have been in the field for several years, can expect a higher pay rate.
Many companies will pay about $55,000, for drivers who have been in the field for about 5 to 7 years, and more. Of course, like every career, the more experience you have, the more type of fleet you have driven, and the more you have logged on the road, the higher you will earn.
And, if you are dedicated, and remain loyal to a particular company, you will find that the pay rate tends to increase every year, so you can earn a reasonable salary, for a career that requires no formal educational training and no college degree.
Over time, your salary may also include benefits, dental and medical, and many companies offer sick and vacation time, as well as retirement benefits to their drivers. So, consider everything, not only the base pay, when you are trying to decide on a career with a specific company working as a truck driver.
Highest Paying Truck Driving Jobs
For those interested in a truck driver career, the highest paid jobs tend to be those working with hazardous chemicals, gas transport, or other dangerous fleet.
This is going to require a class C license. Further, depending on how long you are willing to be on the road, and how far you are willing to travel, your pay is going to increase, the more you are willing to do.
So, the best individuals to work in these fields, are younger drivers, who do not have a family or other commitment back at home. Not only will you have the ability to drive more and stay away from home for longer periods of time, you are also likely in the best shape to perform these jobs, and drive these difficult trucks to handle.
Logging drivers are generally going to earn the highest pay rate. This includes drivers who are doing interstate travel and delivery of fleet, and drivers that tend to stay out on the road for the longest periods of time.
Since different companies will also offer different pay rates, you have to understand what a company is willing to offer, and what you are going to be doing in terms of delivery, in order to ensure you can find the highest paying job or career.
With several careers, and many large trucking companies out there, you can find a great truck driver career, that offers a high pay rate. So, taking the time to learn what is required, and how long you will be on the road, are some things to consider if you are looking for the highest paying positions in this field of work.
See our Salary Guide for Truckers
Benefits You Can Earn
Most decent trucking firms are going to offer individuals both health and dental insurance benefits as a part of their salary. Most larger companies will also offer stock options, as well as retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or other retirement account options to their drivers.
You can generally expect sick and paid vacation days, each year, depending on the company that you work for, this is going to vary, and will increase the longer that you stay with the company that you are driving for.
Prescription medication coverage, life insurance policies, and other forms of medical assistance are also generally offered as a part of a benefit package, for you and for your family as a truck driver. Bonuses are also a big benefit of the job; in the truck driver career, you can expect pay bonuses and increases on an annual basis.
You also have the flexibility with most companies, depending on the class of license, as well as the type of work you are doing as a delivery driver. So, learning what a company offers, what positions are available, and the type of truck you will be driving, are a few things to consider when you are trying to find the right career path, and the companies that are going to offer you the best benefits for the work that you are going to be doing for them in the truck driver career you are in.
Pros/Cons of Driving
Of course, like every career, the truck driver career field is also going to entail a series of pros and cons you should consider, if you are considering entering this field.
Pros of Truck Driving
- High starting pay rates, and only a short amount of schooling is required. You do not need a college degree in order to work as a truck driver and make a decent pay rate.
- You can find a job rather quickly. Many companies need drivers, and are willing to hire you directly out of school even if you do not have the experience.
- You have flexibility. You can work in state or interstate, and you can also choose the type of truck and fleet you are going to be driving around as a trucker.
- You receive benefits including health, vision, dental, etc. You also receive pay bonuses, time off, sick days, and vacation days, from day one on the job.
There are many great benefits. If you are looking for longevity in a career field, and a career field that is always going to be hiring new workers, you are going to find it in the truck driver career. Further, even if you are let go by a company, if they are downsizing, you are going to find that it is rather easy to find a new job, as long as you have the proper licenses that are up to date, when you choose to work in the truck driver career field.
Cons of Truck Driving
Of course, there are also some cons that you should keep in mind if you are going to be working in this field. Some of the downfalls that come along with working in the truck driver career field are:
- Long hours. You tend to be on the road for at least 12 hours a day, and you must meet delivery times and schedules.
- Because of the extended time on the road, truckers can get injured and sick if they don’t take care of themselves.
- It is dangerous. Even with experience on the road, you are driving around heavy fleet and larger trucks, and in many cases, you are driving around hazardous materials or chemicals.
- Accidents do occur, and you have to try to remain on a tight schedule.
- It is demanding and you are always on the road. So, if you are a family individual, or if you plan on starting a family in the near future, it might not be the top career choice for you to consider at the present time.
Sure, the pay is great, and you do have flexibility in terms of where you drive and how often you drive, but the job is also tolling and it is demanding.
You do have to adhere to certain restrictions and follow a tight schedule in order to work in the field. You are also going to have to understand the fact that you are on the road, constantly.
If you are willing to give up on certain things, and not have the steady schedule that you may have hoped for, it is a truck driver career field that does offer the potential for growth, and for high earnings if you stick to it for many years.
So, understand the job, what is required of you, and what you are going to be doing in the field, in order to ensure you do find a great career and great job working in the field.
As a trucker, there are quite a few demands on you; you will be on a tight schedule, and you do have to meet deadlines, since customers are always waiting on the fleet that you are delivering to them.
If you are willing to understand and accept this, if you know what is required of you in the field, and if you are willing to be on the road for several days out of the year, it is a career that you are going to excel in, and can eventually earn a rather high salary in.
Further, you have to understand that you will have to go to school, if you do want to land a great job. It is costly, but there is a guarantee for you to pass with most schools, so you know what is required of you, and what you can expect from them, when you do choose to do your training with that school.
Because there are a number of career fields, and types of trucking jobs you can choose from, you also have to understand the class license system, to ensure you get the right license, and to ensure you get the training from the schools that are going to help you to pass your exam the first time around.
There are many great benefits of working as a trucker, but there are also a few drawbacks you have to keep in mind if you work in the field. You have to understand everything, and you must be willing to adhere to the rules that are in place, to ensure it is the right field for you, and to ensure you do choose the right company when the time comes for you to decide where to work.