CDL Driver or Truck Driver

Learn about what a CDL driver is, the potential salary and benefits of a CDL driver, and what to expect from a truck-driving career.

What is a CDL Driver?

Additional knowledge, experience, skills, and physical capabilities are required to operate a commercial motor vehicle than driving a non-commercial vehicle. To drive a commercial motor vehicle, the driver must hold a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) of the appropriate class. To obtain a CDL, an applicant must pass knowledge and skills tests that meet these higher standards. Holding a CDL means drivers are held to higher expectations when operating any vehicle on the road, and any serious traffic violations could affect their ability to keep their CDL license or maintain gainful employment in the transportation industry.

CDL Driver

What does a truck driver do?

The main job of a truck driver is to safely transport goods over the road with a tractor-trailer or heavy truck. There’s a variety of items that truck drivers can transport, and their routes can be regional or national. Some truck driver jobs have drivers home every night, while others can keep them on the road for days or weeks at a time.

In addition to driving safely on the road and following traffic laws, truck drivers are also commonly responsible for:

  • Inspecting the truck for safe operating conditions
  • Loading and unloading the truck
  • Completing necessary paperwork for each delivery
  • Maintaining a log of hours on the road and any relevant information

How much does a professional truck driver get paid?

There are several factors that influence a truck driver’s pay, including the truck they drive, experience level, and driving record.

In general, the average annual wage is up to $59,488* . That means a Class A CDL truck driver can expect to make up to $1,144* weekly.

Average weekly earnings of general freight and long-distance driving are available on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website.

What are the benefits of being a CDL driver?

There are many benefits of being a CDL truck driver, including:

  • Travel – over the road truck drivers get a chance to explore the country more than they typically would in another job.
  • Independence – employers will give truck drivers instructions for where and when to make deliveries, but they’re most often working on their own in accomplishing their duties. They can often choose their own route and set a work schedule that works for them.
  • Salary – the high demand for CDL truck drivers means a steady source of income is generally available.
  • Employee benefits – many truck drivers receive employee benefits such as medical, vision, dental, and life insurance.
  • Career advancement – there are many different types of commercial vehicles in need of drivers, as well as routes. Getting started as a CDL driver opens the door for many other commercial driving opportunities as well as other positions within the transportation industry.

How can I get started as a CDL driver?

Getting started as a CDL truck driver is not as difficult as you might expect. The first step is to have a valid driver’s license with a good driving record. While having traffic violations won’t automatically disqualify you from obtaining a CDL, they are important factors considered by CDL driving schools and carriers.

You will also need to have a physical exam completed that states you are healthy enough to safely operate as a CDL driver. Some medical conditions may prevent you from becoming a truck driver due to various federal and state regulations relative to safety. These conditions are mandated by the federal government and are checked for at the required Department of Transportation (DOT) physical. A DOT physical examination must be conducted by an approved medical examiner listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry.

You have to train to be a truck driver. To get a Class A CDL license, you are required to receive both theory and practical training operating a commercial motor vehicle. Truck driving schools, like Roadmaster, allow you to enjoy hands-on training to jumpstart training for your career as a truck driver. At Roadmaster, you can receive your training and receive your Class A CDL in about a month.

As you study for your CDL exam, it’s a great time to search for a truck-driving job. Depending on the situation, up to 100% of your monthly tuition cost could be reimbursed while working for a carrier, and you could have a truck driver career lined up so you are ready to start when you finish training and obtain your CDL. If you attend a truck driving school like Roadmaster, a career services associate will help you apply for your first job and assist you in getting your new career started. They will review your job applications, help you submit them to potential employers, follow up with potential employers, and notify you of employment offer letters.

If you are ready to get your career started as a professional truck driver, contact Roadmaster by filling out the application form or giving us a call at 1-800-831-1300.