Take a drive on any US highway and you will see trucks galore, many of them with an advertisement on the back that says their company is hiring qualified drivers. Have you ever thought about getting a truck driving job? With so many opportunities for good pay and benefits, the flexible hours, and the variety of runs available, driving a truck can be a rewarding career. But many truckers will tell you that you shouldn’t think of truck driving as a job — you should think of it as a lifestyle. And, there is a lot of information you’ll need to know if that lifestyle — and the job — is right for you.
The Truck Driving Lifestyle
Truck drivers enjoy decent pay and benefits and can expect to work at any time of the day or night. As a truck driver, you’ll have quite an erratic sleep schedule. You will have a lot of solitude as you make the long haul to places far away. You might not have the luxury of being home on weeknights or weekends. It’s not a career for everyone. But for some, life on the open road suits them perfectly.
Qualifications Needed for Truck Driving Jobs
Driving Record: Trucking companies need to know that they can trust you, and that you have a proven track record of responsibility. You’ll need a clean driving record that is free of accidents, DUIs and other moving violations. With rising insurance costs, companies can’t afford to hire employees who are liability risks.
Criminal Record: Trucking companies look for honest and trustworthy individuals to haul hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and freight, with the lives of the motoring public in their hands. That being said, having a criminal record will not immediately disqualify you, based on your record and the company’s policies. If you have a previous felony conviction, it is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with recent convictions (within the previous seven years) related to operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol, reckless operation and/or vehicular manslaughter being considered as potentially disqualifying.
Job History: A poor work history can pose a problem when looking for a truck driving job. Be prepared to explain any long periods of unemployment. Having a verifiable work history is very important and trucking companies will go back 10 years if you already have experience in trucking, or 3 years if you’re brand new to the industry. If you were laid off, trucking companies will require proof. If you were working under the table, you will have to find a way to verify your employment during that time. All employment must be verified somehow, and trucking companies will give you verification options when you apply.
Education Level: The required level of education for a truck driver is normally a high school diploma or GED. Although this is not legally required, the overwhelming majority of truck driving schools and trucking companies will not accept anyone without a diploma or GED.
Training: Although you can legally get your CDL without attending a legitimate truck driving school, you will find it to be nearly impossible to land a job after obtaining your CDL. It’s better to get your training through a company-sponsored CDL training program or a private truck driving school, as they are all considered legitimate truck driving schools.
Additional Minimum Standards: To get an idea of other specific qualifications you will need, you can look to TransForce, the nation’s leading specialty staffing firm devoted exclusively to the transportation industry:
Truck driving can be an awesome career if you’re the right person for the job. A good driver is a valuable asset to any company. Because, while anyone can learn how to drive a truck and get a job, not everyone can learn how to operate a truck safely and keep that job. That’s why there is always a demand in the trucking field for skilled, trained drivers.