A truck driver’s job is an important one. It’s more than just driving around delivering things. Although that is a main part of the job, truck drivers also play a huge role in ensuring a company’s logistics is doing well. Truck drivers are fundamental nowadays because they’re bringing people their goods during the pandemic.
Our economy relies heavily on truck drivers and their services. Truck drivers transport 68% of all freight tonnage. Without them, our economy would be severely affected, even more so today with COVID-19 threatening us. So if you’re planning to be a truck driver, thank you. We need you now more than ever. That said, here’s everything you need to know about becoming a truck driver:
The average base pay for a truck driver is $59,963 a year. However, a truck driver’s salary can vary greatly. You can expect that the lowest salary a truck driver can get is around $36,000 a year. Plenty of factors have to be considered, such as the years of your experience and the company you plan to work for.
The number of miles you’ve driven, type of cargo, and bonuses can also affect how much your salary is. But one thing’s for sure. You can make a living from truck driving. Who knows, you might even be able to create your own truck driving company. That’s what most truck drivers do once they’ve saved enough money and it can succeed.
Age: Although you can get your driver’s license before you turn 21, a truck driver must be at least 21 years old. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a company willing to hire anybody below 21, especially if you have to deliver cargo across different states.
Education: Company’s aren’t strict when it comes to education requirements. Some may look for a high school diploma or a GED. They’re recommended but not necessary. You can also go to an accredited truck-driving school, which will help you get a job much easier. They will award you with a certificate once you graduate.
As long as you know how to speak, read, and write in English and have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL), you can become a truck driver. Also, every truck driver must take the written exam on Motor Carrier Safety Regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportation and pass. If you attend a truck driving school, you won’t have to worry about this exam because they will surely teach you everything you need to pass.
History: Expect that companies will conduct a background search on you. Having a clean driving record and no criminal record is vital. If you’ve been caught driving under the influence (alcohol or other substances), fleeing a scene of an accident, or eluding a police officer at least three times, your likelihood of getting hired will go down.
If you’ve been in a vehicular accident that caused a fatality, you might not get hired at all. So make sure that you have a clean driving and criminal record. If you have had experience in truck driving in other companies, make sure to get a good and strong reference from your past employers. That will also help you get hired faster.
Health: companies expect that you will be able to perform the job physically. You have to be physically healthy. To assess your physical health, most companies will require you to undergo a DOT physical and pass. A DOT physical will evaluate your eyesight, hearing, blood pressure, and overall health. You will also be required to take a drug test.
You should seek the proper medical treatment and rehabilitation for your situation before trying out for this job. The test can also include how well you endure sitting down for long periods and if you can load and unload an object that is at least 50 lbs. This physical examination will be conducted every few years.
Drug tests might also be done at random, even while you are already working at a company. This is a requirement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Just remember that a truck driver has to be on the road majority of the time. That means if you have a family, you have to spend most of your career away from them. But if you aren’t worried about that, truck driving can be the ideal job for you. Being on the road, behind the wheel, carrying precious cargo, all the while helping our economy grow. What could be any better?