If you decide to choose a truck driver career, get ready for the ride of a lifetime. It is a very challenging, yet very interesting career choice. Truck driving is still among the most lucrative jobs in the USA, it gives you a unique opportunity to explore the United States, have your own adventure and be a part of the culture that is making things move. Plus, earn money and take some great bonuses.
Before you start considering this as your new career path (or should we say career road) make sure that you informed about everything. To make this ride as smooth as possible we prepared this guide for you. Let’s see what lies ahead.
Do you have all the important traits to be a truck driver?
In order to be a great truck driver, you need to meet both physical and mental competencies.
- You need to be 21 years old minimum.
- You need to have a great hearing.
- Vision is also important. You can’t be color blind and you need to have at least 20/40, with corrective lenses or glasses.
- Spatial intelligence: you need to have a great spatial sense to navigate narrow and tight spaces.
- Communication is also very important – you will communicate with dispatchers and clients and you need to prepare all important reports and keep the records. You need to speak fluent English, understand the street signs, and communicate with law
- Clean driving record: You can’t be a truck driver if you were convicted of felonies such are driving under the influence, drug use or you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident in the past.
- If you are an owner-operator – entrepreneurial spirit is a must-have!
Your responsibilities as a truck drivers
If you ever wondered how the day (or days) in the life of a trucker looks like, we will simplify everything to help you understand it better. Truck driver job description includes:
- Transportation of various goods or raw materials across the land.
- Assistance and supervision of safe loading onto trucks and getting ready to transform them safely to their destination.
- Making sure you comply with all federal regulations and state regulations as well. State regulations are often much strict so make sure that you meet all the important requirements.
- Pre-trip truck inspections and inspections when you’ve reached your destination to ensure the maximum safety at all stages of your trip
- Reporting to dispatchers regarding possible obstacles and irregular occurrences on the road.
- Remaining focused while driving long distances.
- Keep your log updated about driving hours and miles driven.
- Keeping the truck clean, making sure you have your calendar of repairs ready
- Helping with the safe unloading of the goods when they reached their destination.
When it comes to working hours – 14 consecutive hours is the limit you can’t cross. You can be 10 hours maximum behind the wheel and the other 4 hours are reserved for loading and unloading, writing reports, making truck inspections…
Make sure to ask your company about days off and home time.
Truck drivers need to have a commercial driving license (CDL) issued in the state they live in. Also, we already mentioned the importance of a clean driving record. You also need to meet certain education requirements:
- Education matters – you need to go through a trucking course in order to prepare for this role. There are many private school programs that offer some great ways to learn potential truck drivers to earn how to maneuver with large vehicles in heavy traffic. Make sure that you inform properly, ask truck companies near you which program you should take if you want to join them.
- Training: training can be formal and informal. Some companies offer formal training with classroom training, followed by CDL test preparation and training on the road. In most companies, it is informal, and often experienced drivers show how everything wors before young drivers take the lead.
- Making sure you have all licenses in order – if you plan to work on transportation of hazardous materials, you need to obtain CDL.
Truck driver average salary
Salaries depend on your overall experience and of the company. The company can offer many attractive signup bonuses, increase the pay based on performance.
The median annual salary is approximately $45,260. Company drivers are paid by miles with performance bonuses while owner-operators are paid differently. They are paid by the percentage of cargo revenue.
If you are responsible, with an adventurous spirit and you can remain focused even in the most stressful situations, this career path might be a perfect fit. Make sure that you inform about all the details regarding trucking courses and find quality training that will help you apply for a job in the industry quickly. Contact us!