Things You Need to Know Before Trying to Become a Truck Driver
For those who are seeking a career with stability and security, becoming a truck driver would be an excellent choice. Truck driving is a career that will always be in demand become we will always need truck drivers to haul products and merchandise from coast to coast. Becoming a truck driver can be a great career choice for those who want a secure and well-paying career. It is a great job for those who enjoy the outdoors and do not like the type of jobs that require them to be indoors for most of their day.
If becoming a truck driver is something that you are considering, there are a few things that you will need to know before you start making your career on the road plans. Why? Because there are some things that will automatically disqualify you from pursuing this career.
The first thing that you will want to make sure that is intact is your driving record. Your driving history will be very important to truck driving companies that you will apply with. If you have a terrible driving record, most companies will not ever consider hiring you. If you have a few tickets here and there, it will not make much of a difference. Most people have a few tickets on their driving record and you should not worry about it, these companies are not looking for only drivers with perfect driving records. When should you worry about it? If you have more serious traffic violations such as reckless driving or D.U.I. markings on your driving record, it will almost be impossible for you to get a truck driving job. Even if you did find a company that really wanted to hire you for whatever reason, your chances would still be next to none because the insurance cost that this company would have to pay for you would be much too expensive. Companies will always ask you for a copy of your D.M.V. driving record when you apply with them. Some will ask for a 5 year driving history record, others will ask for a 10 year record.
Your vision is also something to consider when thinking about becoming a truck driver. Though this is not a problem for most people, there are some who may have a history of vision problems. In order to get a Class A commercial drivers license someone must have at least 20/40 vision in each eye. The D.M.V. will test you to make sure that you meet this qualification.
If you are someone without a high school diploma or G.E.D. certificate, you may be wondering if you can get a job as a truck driver. The answer to that question is simply "YES." Many truck driving companies do not require you to have a high school diploma in order to work for them. Of course having your high school diploma is always better as companies may even pay you more simply because you are a high school graduate. If you are a young person who is thinking about driving trucks, please continue with your schooling to at least get your high school diploma. There are some truck driving companies that will only hire those who hold a high school diploma or G.E.D. These companies that require this are usually the ones that will pay better wages. Again though, no high school diploma is needed to become employed as a truck driver.
Truck Driving School
If you are ready to start your adventure in becoming a truck driver, the first thing that you must think about is getting your Class A commercial drivers license. To do this you will need to find a truck driving school in your area, there surely will be at least a few truck driving schools in your area.
When you are searching for a truck driving school, make sure that you ask them questions. A good school will teach you everything you need to know, and prepare you to become a successful big rig truck driver. You my want to ask the truck driving school if they are certified. Being a certified school basically means that the school is guaranteed to be of good quality. If a school is not certified it does not mean that it is a bad school, many people just feel better knowing that a school is certified. You will also want to ask the truck driving school about how the classroom time is spent. You will want to know how many schools hours are spent behind the wheel. Truck driving schools will tell you how many school hours are required but usually do not mention how many of those hours are behind the wheel. Though classroom training is very important, you will also need to get comfortable behind the wheel of a big rig, it is a very heavy piece of equipment that you will be operating and is something you must get familiar with. You will also need to feel comfortable when the time comes for your D.M.V. truck driving test. It would not be a good thing if your driving test time came and you did not feel comfortable and confident that you could operate the truck and pass the test.
The cost to attend a truck driving school will vary. Usually the price will be anywhere from $1,000.00 to $3,000.00. If you do not have the money to pay for truck driving school, you will want to ask the school if they offer payment plans. Most schools will offer some kind of financing and will offer you a friendly payment plan. I have to mention here that there are some truck driving companies that will hire you and pay for your schooling, the catch here is that you will have to work for that company for a certain amount of time before you can quite. In these agreements you will sign a contract stating that if you quite on them in a certain amount of time that you will have to pay them back for the truck driving school that they paid for you.
While enrolled in your truck driving school, you will become prepared to pass your Class A commercial license D.M.V. test. You will also become prepared to pass the Class A license driving test. The written test will most probably be taken around the middle of your schooling, the actual driving test is usually taken around the end of the schooling and will be done with your truck driving school equipment.
As a truck driver, you will need to pass the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) exam. This is a test that is administered by the United States D.O.T. Your school will let you know all about this test and will prepare you to pass it. You will also need to pass a physical examination which most do not have a problem with if they are in general basic good health. Once you pass the physical examination you will be issued a green card that you will always have to carry with you whenever you are driving a truck, this test will need to be done every two years. Your truck driving school will give you more information about this.
If you are interested in getting endorsements such as a hazmat endorsement, passenger endorsement, tank endorsement, doubles/triples, or any other type of endorsements, you will want to let your truck driving school know about it. They will guide you in the right direction to obtain whatever you want. Having these endorsements will make you more employable to a company that requires their drivers to have these endorsements. If they do not talk about these endorsements in your class, do not be afraid to bring the subject up to your instructors.
Finding Employment as a Truck Driver
Once your truck driving school is complete and you have your Class A commercial drivers license, you are now employable to get a job as a truck driver. Your Class A license shows that you know how to handle a big rig on the road and understand all the laws, rules, and regulations that a truck driver should know.
Now it is time for you to get that truck driving job that you have been training so hard to get. If you have been lucky enough to attend a school that offers job placement assistance you will want to take advantage of it. Employers often times have relationships with truck driving schools because they want to hire recent graduates of truck driving schools. They know that you are eager to work and will give you the opportunity.
If your school did not offer any job placement assistance you will have to look for a job on your own. You can start by looking in your local help wanted section of your local newspapers. Truck drivers are always in high demand and you will see lots of companies that you can apply for a job with. Look in online classified websites such as Craigslist or Indeed. Employers are always looking to hire newly licensed and trained truck drivers.
Truck drivers usually spend lots of time away from home. There are different types of truck driving jobs though that you can apply for that do not require so much time away from home. If you will be searching for employment that will allow you to go home every day after your work shift is over, you will want to apply for a local truck driving job. Though these truck drivers generally make less than OTR truck drivers, they do get the privilege of going home every single day after work. OTR drivers make more money and sometimes will work for a company, or can be owner operators. Sometimes OTR drivers work as a team so they can sleep while their partner drives. There are so many different types of truck driving assignments that drivers will always find themselves entertained. That is only one of the many reasons that truck drivers enjoy their careers.