How to Become a Truck Driver
There is a significant shortage of Class A CDL licensed truck drivers, so carriers are paying more money to attract new ones. You can start a new career by training to receive a commercial driver’s license — get your credential in four weeks.
Truck driving jobs are everywhere — and the money you can make as a professional truck driver has never been higher. If you are ready to learn how to become a truck driver, the trucking industry may have positions in your area.
Step 1: Get a Commercial Driver’s License
For you to qualify for your Class A CDL license — and those readily available truck driver jobs — you need to pass a few basic qualifications. There’s also a background check before entering a training program.
Qualification 1: Medical Fitness
Some medical conditions may prevent you from becoming a truck driver or driving a commercial vehicle. This is because of various federal and state safety regulations. The physical examination you take for your medical certificate confirms you are healthy enough to perform the demanding job of a Class A Truck Driver and can keep our nation’s roads safe.
Checking for these medical conditions is part of a federal government mandate. During the physical exam, your doctor checks your overall health and each body system, marking it as normal or abnormal. You must also submit to a urinalysis test. This is for drug testing and detection of blood, sugar, or protein in the urine. The doctor then sends the DOT physical form directly to the DMV licensing agency in your state.
Qualification 2: No Criminal Background
While having a felony on your record doesn’t affect your ability to get a Class A CDL license, it may affect your ability to get employment from a trucking carrier. Not everyone with a criminal record will qualify for jobs after obtaining their CDL license, but some will. Several variables will affect employment, like the type of conviction, time since completion of sentence, and whether the felony was violent.
Qualification 3: Clean Driving Record
CDL training schools and trucking carriers look for skilled and safe drivers with a clean driving record. You’ll have to disclose speeding tickets, DUIs, and other traffic violations on the road to getting a CDL — but these don’t automatically mean you’re disqualified from entering this career path. If you are unsure about how to become a truck driver, reach out and ask us. We may be able to advise you on how to work within these regulations so you can get trucking jobs. If you are unsure about how to become a truck driver, talk to us today.
Step 2: Obtaining Your CDL Learner’s Permit
A Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) only authorizes you to practice on public roads with a qualified CDL holder sitting next to you. Getting the permit involves more than just passing all the knowledge tests for the type of driving that you want to do. Your driving record is checked for the last 10 years in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
You need to show proof of state-required medical fitness. Most types of commercial driving require a DOT medical card which means you need to have a DOT physical. Your state may also require additional documents.
You also need to pass your basic driver exam before you move on to trucks. The Department of Motor Vehicles has more detail on these regulations.
Step 3: Training To be a Truck Driver
Truckers must hold a Class A CDL license to drive tractor-trailers both in-state and on long trips across state lines before they hit the open road. To get a Class A CDL license, you need a minimum of 160-160 hours of combined classroom and “behind the wheel” training driving a truck.
Truck driving schools, like Roadmaster, provide training to help you get your Class A CDL license in four weeks. That experience is vital to help you build your hours in a job placement and to get practical skills. It also allows you to think about whether truck driving is the right job for you. You get to see the opportunities in this career and meet other truckers.
If you are out of work or just looking to make a better life for yourself and your family, Roadmaster can help you start a new life in just four weeks and show you how to become a truck driver with no experience.
Transition To Trucking From the Military
If you are finishing up military service and looking for a job, truck driving is a good choice. There’s flexibility and good rates of pay as a truck driver. You’ll find lots of work from long haul to transportation of hazardous materials. Roadmaster truck driver training school is approved for veterans training: our students, if qualified, are eligible for Post-9/11 benefits.
Step 4: Getting Your First Trucking Job
Once you have obtained your Class A CDL license, you are ready to apply for entry-level commercial truck driver jobs with trucking companies or to pursue a career as an owner-operator. A truck driving school like Roadmaster gives you access to a career services associate while you study for the CDL exam. They will help you apply for your first job. Soon, you’ll enjoy the benefits of your new career.
During the first few days of trucking school, placement associates work with you to choose which roles best fit your needs. They will review your job applications and help you submit them to potential employers. The placement staff will follow up with potential employers and notify you of employment offer letters.