Obtaining a job as a truck driver can be an extremely rewarding experience, whether you want to improve your current job or simply wish to try something new. Likely, you are interested in the opportunity to work an independent job. There are many ways to establish a successful career in the trucking industry. First, you should consider the lifestyle, requiring you to spend many days, or even weeks away from home. Will the salary be sufficient to support your family, and how will they cope with your absence.
How To Break Into the Trucking Industry
There are many ways that you can break into the trucking industry, but first you obviously need to become qualified to drive a truck. These are the typical requirements for most states:
- You must possess a GED or high school diploma.
- You must earn a Commercial Driver's License (CDL), and possibly other endorsements such as HazMat, allowing you to haul and handle hazardous materials.
- You must successfully pass the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) exam to prove you can safely operate a truck.
- You must meet the minimum physical health requirements, particularly regarding vision and hearing.
- Upon passing the FMCSR, you must retake the exam every two years to maintain your status as a truck driver.
You should seriously consider attending a private school for your training in truck driving and for the CDL and FMCSR. Private schools can be considerably expensive and time-consuming, but will maximize your chances of landing a solid driving job.
Benefits for Truck Drivers
With your training completed and your license in your hand, you will be eager to take the next step but unsure of where to go. You should seek companies that offer the following benefits:
- Cash advances
- Cost Per Mile (CPM) starting pay
- Paid vacation time
At your job interviews you should also ask lots of questions regarding the company’s operations. What will your driving schedule be like? What states will you drive in? Will your route take you away from home for a week or more or just a day or two? Knowing what the job entails will allow you to negotiate the best deal and benefits up front.
Earning Income as a Truck Driver
The process of being a truck driver and earning significant income can be confusing at first. There may be many truck drivers on the road, but some of them do not stay in the industry very long. Supporting your family as a truck driver is not something that you should take for granted. Plan your career carefully and embrace all opportunities to improve your experience and hence income. Here are some recommendations to maximize your earning potential in the trucking industry:
- Drive as frequently as possible.
- Adapt quickly to living away from home and on the road.
- Avoid truck driving leases.
- Broaden your experience with different routes and loads, and ask for special jobs like HazMat and/or wide or long loads.
There are legal limitations on how much driving a truck driver can actually do in a day, so incorporate regulations into your plans as well.
The Rewarding Life of a Truck Driver
As a truck driver you can make great money, especially due to the need for more drivers. There is a great deal of responsibility involved as trucking companies are required to transport cargo all over the country. You can successfully support your family as long as you drive frequently, adapt to their new lifestyle, and fully appreciate the experience.