With college costs climbing and student debt ballooning, many people are considering alternatives to the traditional four-year degree. Trade crafts and technical jobs require significantly less up-front training and education. The cost of attaining the necessary certification is much cheaper.
And well-paying jobs are readily available.
This is especially true in an industry like truck driving. There is currently a shortage of 60,000 truck drivers, and that amount is expected to double, if not triple in the years to come.
The question is, is truck driving right for you? Let’s take a closer look
The Right Qualifications
In order to drive commercially, you need a commercial driver’s license or CDL. Some states allow you to apply for a CDL as young as 18. However, those will only allow you to operate in-state. That’s why almost all trucking companies require their drivers to be 21 or older.
At 21, you can receive a CDL that will allow you to drive commercially across all 50 states.
Most trucking companies will have additional requirements, such as a clean driving record with no DUIs. If you have a spotty driving record with multiple accidents or a DUI in the past 5 years, you may want to consider other options.
Handling Traffic and Parking
No matter where you’re driving truck, you’ll eventually encounter high-traffic. For tractor-trailers, this requires extra patience and caution. You need a lot more room to maneuver and you take a lot longer to stop than a small car. Nobody loves traffic, but if the very thought of it causes you to get anxious or angry, trucking might not be the best fit for you.
Additionally, truck driving requires exceptional parking abilities, as you’ll sometimes have to back an entire trailer into a small area for loading and unloading. If you get a sense of accomplishment every time you successfully parallel park into a tight spot, you just might be a truck driver.
Not Always Being Around
Different trucking jobs require different amounts of being away from home. Some jobs will have you consistently traveling from coast to coast. Others will keep you in a more localized hub. But virtually all of them will require you to be away from your home for evenings and overnights.
There are certainly trucking jobs available (like ours) that prioritize quality home-time. Even then, you won’t be able to quickly run home or pick up a kid from school during the workday.
Truck drivers spend a significant amount of time by themselves inside of their truck. Some people love alone time, using it to process thoughts, enjoy some music, catch up on a podcast, or listen to a book on tape.
Other people can’t stand being by themselves for more than 20 minutes.
If you place a high value on your alone-time, then truck driving can be an opportunity for you to be paid to be by yourself.
The Image of the Modern Truck Driver is Changing
Currently, the average age of a truck operator is 55. Over the next few years, much of the workforce will retire. The need for new, young drivers is so great, people are lobbying to lower the inter-state driving age to 18.
Meanwhile, automation technology continues to evolve, changing the role of tomorrow’s truck driver. While truck drivers likely won’t be replaced for quite some time, their responsibilities could evolve to be more tech and logistics focused.
Now is a great time to get into an industry on the cutting-edge of change and advancement. At Woodruff Enterprises, we have great opportunities available for both standard and owner operations. Whether you’re wanting part-time or full-time work, we offer competitive pay, quality time at home, and more.
If you’re considering becoming a truck driver, don’t think about how you compare to the stereotypical image of a trucker that you have in your head. Instead, ask yourself if you have the motivation to work-hard in rapidly growing industry.
If you do, we’d love to hear from you. For trucking jobs from Springfield, Ohio to Charlotte, North Carolina and beyond, contact Woodruff Enterprises.