It’s not exactly a secret that there’s a shortage of truck drivers in the US. Around 60,000 drivers are currently needed, and that figure could double, if not triple in the future. While this is creating some difficulties for those in the freight, shipping, and warehousing worlds, it’s great news for anyone looking to become a truck driver in 2019.
There’s a lot of opportunity available. The pay and benefits are highly competitive, too.
So, the question is, where do you begin your journey towards becoming a truck driver?
Getting Your License
Just like driving a car, you’ll need to learn how to actually operate a truck and pass some tests to get your license. In the case of driving truck, you’ll need a CDL A. But before you can get that, you’ll need to go to truck driving school.
Now, there are some states that allow you to obtain your CDL just by passing the test. While this may sound tempting due to lower cost, it also leaves you less educated and experienced. Driving a truck under unpredictable conditions is easier said than done.
A proper truck driving education goes a long way in preparing you for the road ahead (literally and figuratively). Also, it may affect whether or not a company hires you.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a full-blown college journey. Driving school only lasts about seven weeks and will typically cost $3000 and $7000.
Once your schooling is complete, you can take your test and receive your license. It should also be mentioned there are some age restrictions when it comes to attaining your CDL and being eligible to drive.
To drive truck across state lines, you’ll need to be 21. Most companies aren’t going to hire anyone under that age.
Owner Operator or Standard Operator?
In the trucking world, you can drive for yourself or you can drive for a company. If you’re driving for yourself, then you’re an owner operator. That means you’ll need to either own or lease your own vehicle. Obviously, there’s a lot more upfront cost there, but it also provides you with more freedom and control over your future and what jobs you take.
Becoming a standard operator is a much more pre-packaged approach. Your vehicle, routes, and schedule are providing by the company you work for. There tends to be more security and less additional work as a standard operator, which is why most drivers are standard operators.
Finding a Trucking Job
As we said before, there are a lot of truck driving jobs available. All of them make big promises, both in terms of pay and benefits. Many, unfortunately, aren’t all they’re talked up to be. If you want to last in the trucking world, you’ll need to find a company to drive for that provides consistent mileage, room for growth, incentives, and quality time home.
At Woodruff Enterprises, we place an emphasis on consistency and quality of life for our drivers. In addition to competitive pay, we try to keep you close to home so that you can be involved in the lives of those who matter most to you.