6 Steps to Become a Truck Driver
Are you ready to become a truck driver?
It's important to keep in mind that being a truck driver comes with its own set of challenges and costs. Truck drivers are often away from home for long periods of time and must deal with the stress of tight deadlines and traffic. They also have to cover expenses such as fuel, maintenance, and lodging, which can be significant.
Furthermore, the job of a truck driver may not be suitable for everyone, as it requires a high level of responsibility, attention to detail, and a willingness to be away from home for long periods of time. Additionally, the job can be physically demanding, and truck drivers may be required to perform tasks such as loading and unloading cargo, which can be tiring.
Truck driving can be a financially rewarding career for some people, as the median salary for truck drivers in the United States is around $45,260 per year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additionally, many trucking companies offer benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off, which can add to the overall compensation package.
Becoming a truck driver typically involves obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL), gaining experience, and meeting other state and federal requirements. Here are the general steps to becoming a truck driver:
1. Meet the minimum age requirement
In most states, you must be at least 21 years old to obtain a CDL and drive a commercial vehicle across state lines. Some states allow drivers as young as 18 to obtain a CDL, but they are limited to driving only within the state.
2. Pass a medical exam
Federal law requires all commercial drivers to pass a medical exam to ensure they are physically fit to drive a commercial vehicle.
3. Obtain a CDL
To obtain a CDL, you must pass a written test and a skills test. The written test covers knowledge of traffic laws and regulations, while the skills test covers your ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. The specific requirements vary by state, but most states require you to pass both a general knowledge test and a test specific to the type of vehicle you will be driving.
4. Get on-the-job training
Once you have obtained a CDL, you will need to gain experience driving a commercial vehicle. Many trucking companies offer paid training programs to new drivers.
5. Meet federal safety regulations
Federal regulations require all commercial drivers to pass regular drug and alcohol tests, as well as maintain a clean driving record. Some trucking companies may have additional safety requirements.
6. Keep your CDL current
CDLs must be renewed every few years and require passing a written test and a skills test.
It's worth noting that the specific requirements for obtaining a CDL and becoming a truck driver can vary by state, so it's important to check the regulations in your state. Additionally, some trucking companies may have additional requirements, such as a minimum number of years of driving experience or a specific type of driving experience.