How to Become a Truck Driver? Follow the Step-by-step Guide

How to Become a Truck Driver Follow the Step-by-step Guide

If you enjoy driving a lot and don’t mind spending a lot of time away from home, working as a commercial truck driver can be rewarding. Although it doesn’t usually take much time to become a truck driver, there are a few strict requirements you must fulfill in order to become a truck driver.

How to become a truck driver? Pass Your State’s Regular Driver’s License Exam, Complete High School or the GED, Start Professional Training, Earn Your CDL and Other Relevant Endorsements, Find Job Placement Assistance, and Complete Your Employer’s Finishing Program.

Continue reading to find out more.

What Does a Truck Driver Do?

Transporting goods from one place to another is a crucial service that truck drivers offer.

Some drivers make daily local trips, while long-distance truck drivers frequently travel for days or even weeks at a time. While some drivers transport heavy machinery or dangerous materials, others are tasked with handling packages.

The various commercial driver’s license (CDL) types should be understood if you’re considering learning how to drive a truck.

  • Class A — Class A vehicles have a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 26,001+ lb. A vehicle in tow (trailer) must be greater than 10,000 lb.
    • Semi truck + trailer combo (van, temperature-controlled trailer)
    • Semi truck + tanker trailer
    • Semi truck + livestock trailer (typically known as a Bull Hauler)
    • Semi truck + flatbed trailer
    • Most Class B + Class C vehicles (according to what special endorsements are required)
  • Class B — A Class B vehicle’s GVW is 26,001 pounds or more.
    • Delivery trucks
    • Various box trucks
    • Dump trucks with small trailers
    • Straight trucks
    • School buses
    • Sight-seeing buses
    • City buses
    • Some Class C configurations if the driver has the special endorsements required.
  • Class C — a single car weighing less than 26,0001 pounds. or a vehicle pulling a trailer under 10,000 lb, or carries 16+ passengers with driver
    • Buses
    • Tanker Trucks
    • Hazmat Vehicles
    • Double
    • Triple Trailers
How to Become a Truck Driver Follow the Step-by-step Guide
How to Become a Truck Driver? Follow the Step-by-step Guide

How to Become a Truck Driver?

Be aware of the age requirement before considering the steps to becoming a truck driver. You must be at least 21 years old to legally operate commercial motor vehicles.

However, you can obtain a learner’s permit as early as age 18, and some federally run pilot programs and military programs allow younger drivers to work.

Pass Your State’s Regular Driver’s License Exam

You must have a current driver’s license in your state before earning a CDL. You might even be able to start your career driving delivery trucks with just a regular driver’s license while you’re training for your CDL. Fees for obtaining an American driver’s license range from $20 to $90.

Complete High School Or the GED

Most long-haul employers require applicants to have at least a high school diploma or GED, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). You can get your GED for between $80 and $140 in the majority of states and in about four months.

Start Professional Training

You can enroll in CDL exam preparation courses at community colleges, private truck driving schools, and trucking firms. Make sure you are familiar with the BMV or DMV regulations in your state because some states have their own auditing and accreditation procedures.

Driver training programs may last up to a year. Programs at community colleges and private schools can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000.

Students enrolled in truck driving programs at community colleges may be eligible for financial aid. Some might even provide a one-year degree in commercial freight management or truck driving. Although it’s not required, getting a college degree can be a great option if you want to start driving.

Company-sponsored courses typically last four to six weeks and cost $6,000. Most reward graduates who stay with the business for a predetermined period of time with discounts, financing options, and occasionally full reimbursement.

How to Become a Truck Driver Follow the Step-by-step Guide
How to Become a Truck Driver? Follow the Step-by-step Guide

Earn Your CDL and Other Relevant Endorsements

At a minimum, you need to have a CDL. Depending on the size and weight of your vehicle, there are three different CDL classifications (A, B, and C). The CDL-A is the most versatile for drivers of large freight.

Additionally, your license may require an endorsement code. Endorsements are crucial for specialized vehicles like school buses and tankers because they specify what you are legally permitted to transport. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) describes the various classes and endorsement codes. However, you should also speak with your state’s BMV or DMV.

The BMV or DMV systems in many states charge a fee for your CDL application, test, and license. The license fee, which ranges from $20 to $120, will be the most expensive fee.

Find Job Placement Assistance

Some truck driving schools provide career guidance and job boards. Associations for truck drivers also facilitate contacts between members and mentors and employers. These associations include the ATA, Women in Trucking, and more.

Complete Your Employer’s Finishing Program

Most businesses demand that newly licensed employees complete an internal training program. You are introduced to the vehicles, supplies, and equipment pertinent to the company during these training sessions, also known as driver finishing programs. The actual program could last three to four weeks and include some time spent driving under supervision.

If you’re considering a career as a truck driver, one of the biggest questions on your mind is probably “How much money do truck drivers make a year?” 

How to Become a Truck Driver? Follow the Step-by-step Guide
How to Become a Truck Driver? Follow the Step-by-step Guide

Why Become a Truck Driver?

In conclusion, if you make well-informed choices, a career as a truck driver can be financially rewarding.

Professional driver pay ranges depend on the type of truck driving job you work at as well where you work. The norm is that some states have higher average wages than others.

In the United States, there are many opportunities for truck drivers. There is a serious truck driver shortage in the U.S., which continues to grow. Therefore, if you’ve decided to become a truck driver, you don’t need to worry about finding work.

Finding employment as a truck driver shouldn’t be a problem. The secret is to get good training, practice your skills and look carefully for the right driving job with a reputable company.

See more: How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?

Why Get a CDL License?

Driving can be a rewarding career that offers abundant, recession-proof job opportunities and the ability to see parts of the country that most only dream of.

Since qualified drivers are frequently in short supply, safe, seasoned truckers have stability and opportunities for advancement.

Trucking can, however, be isolating, demanding, and difficult on families.

But despite the downsides, attending a truck driving school can be a great investment in your future.

How to Become a Truck Driver? Follow the Step-by-step Guide
How to Become a Truck Driver? Follow the Step-by-step Guide


Are There Other Qualifications Needed for the Job, Besides a CDL License?

No, you must be able to safely operate a vehicle and pass a minimal Department of Transportation medical test. There are businesses that need people to lift or move heavy objects, as well as load or unload trailers.

What Are the Requirements for Truck Driving School?

You must be at least 21 years old, be able to pass a drug and alcohol test, obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and have a spotless driving record in order to enroll in a truck driving school. You may also need to be able to pass a physical.

How Long Does It Take to Become An Owner-operator from a Truck Driver?

It helps if owner-operators have at least a few years of experience truck driving for a company before venturing into being an owner-operator. You should be certain that truck driving is the career you want to pursue because owner-operator trucking has high upfront costs.

What Skills Are Needed to Become An Owner-operator Truck Driver from a Truck Driver?

Owner-operators will also benefit from having entrepreneurial skills, business acumen, and organizational skills. Owner-operators are effectively managing their own company, so they should have faith in their capacity to manage a small business.

What Should a Truck Driver Put on Their Resume?

The following skills are highly sought after among truck drivers: Customer service, communication skills, attention to detail, attention to safety, safe driving skills and detail-oriented.

Summary: How to Become a Truck Driver?

Most companies require their truck drivers to have a high school diploma or equivalent. A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required for all long-haul truck drivers. Qualifications for obtaining a CDL vary by state but generally include passing both a knowledge test and a driving test.

Drivers who want to demonstrate their proficiency in operating a particular class of vehicle can add endorsements to their CDL. Drivers of trucks transporting hazardous materials (HAZMAT) need to have the hazardous materials endorsement (H).

Several aspiring drivers enroll in professional truck driving schools, where they take instruction programs to learn how to control big vehicles on highways or through congested streets. Drivers learn the federal rules and laws that govern interstate truck driving in these classes as well.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. KV Auto tries to give you the best car industry information. Thank you for reading.

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