Age Requirements for Becoming a Truck Driver
Every potential truck driver, young or old, must be able to meet the Department of Transportation (DOT) physical fitness requirements (e.g., passing the physical exam) and be healthy enough and physically able to complete their job safely and sufficiently.
You can learn more about the minimum medical requirements on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website.
Physical health and ability per applicable regulations and being at least 21 are the main requirements when it comes to age. Otherwise, age itself doesn’t factor in employment whatsoever, so it shouldn’t factor into your decision to pursue a successful career in trucking, either.
Even better is that one of the reasons so many people are deciding to become professional truck drivers is that the industry offers many distinct advantages for drivers in pretty much every age range. Whether you are re-entering the workforce after a break or looking to transition out of a different industry.
Let’s take a look at why training to become a professional truck driver is a great career move at any age:
What is the right age to become a commercial truck driver?
While there is a minimum age requirement for becoming an interstate truck driver — in most cases, to be eligible for interstate driving employment, you need to be at least 21 years old — one of the great things about professional truck driving is that there is no maximum age cutoff point.
No federal or government regulations are limiting the maximum age of commercial drivers. If you’re older, as long as you can meet the CDL requirements, pass the medical examiner’s test and meet the basic physical fitness requirements, you shouldn’t have any problems becoming a commercial driver. A background check and a good driving record are required as well for most positions. A skills test can help you decide if trucking is right for you.
Thousands of men and women enter the trucking industry at an older age. The average age of American CDL drivers is currently around 49 years old, and it is not uncommon at all for people in their 50s and 60s to get their CDL and start driving.
So, what age-related restrictions does trucking have?
Why professional truck driving is a good choice for older men and women
Commercial truck drivers get to travel all around the country and cross quite a few state lines. That means there is a good possibility that you will drive through a city or area near an old friend or family member you haven’t seen in some time.
More generally, no two days are ever really the same. Commercial drivers travel to new places every day. That means that many truckers get to see places and landmarks they always have wanted to see but maybe never had the time or the money to.
On top of the pay, don’t forget about all the truck driver benefits that are generally considered pretty standard in the industry, benefits like a 401(k), medical insurance, life insurance, and much more.
With the average pay and benefits in mind, getting the training needed for a new career in truck driving might be a great way to supplement some of that retirement, pension, or social security income that you already may be receiving. Or, if you haven’t started saving up for your retirement yet, getting the training needed to get rolling in truck driving might offer an excellent chance to get started.
Truck drivers earn these types of benefits and pay, mind you, while also getting to enjoy the freedom and new experiences the open road has to offer.
How young people can use truck driving to kick-start their careers
For young people considering obtaining training for a career in professional truck driving, the same average pay and common benefits discussed above apply.
An added benefit for younger CDL holders is that the trucking industry provides an opportunity to start your professional working life in an adventurous way after training for your Class A CDL. Your twenties are an exciting time, and, at least for many people in this age range, there’s little or nothing holding you back. The world is yours to explore, and trucking can offer you the freedom to do it.
Plus, a career in truck driving offers solid job security because truck driver jobs can’t be outsourced.
Add that the trucking industry needs qualified drivers, there’s a major truck driver shortage right now — and it’s easy to see why training for a career in trucking is the perfect place to jumpstart a successful, secure career anytime in your professional life.
More than just the security you can take advantage of while in trucking, though, think of the big picture: By training to become a professional truck driver, you will learn a skill set that you possibly could fall back on if, later on, you decide to change your career. Maybe down the road, you end up in another industry and find yourself either unhappy or out of work. It happens. But having professional truck driving as an option can give you peace of mind that’s extremely valuable as you navigate the job market throughout the rest of your professional life.
Passing the CDL test and getting a Class A license
The point of everything we’ve just discussed is to say that it’s neither too late nor too early (provided you’re 21 or over) for you to train for a new career that can help you achieve financial success, broaden your life experience, and have an adventure. Whichever end of the age spectrum you find yourself on, tucking could be just the opportunity you need to create a better life for yourself.
So feel free to stop wondering, “Am I too old to become a truck driver?” or, “Am I too young to drive a truck professionally?” because beyond the age of 21, however old you happen to be is the right age to look at pursuing the truck-driving lifestyle!
To become a professional truck driver, the main thing you’ll need to do is get your interstate Class A CDL license, which is the Commercial Driver’s License required to operate Class A commercial motor vehicles (“big rigs”). This will allow you to haul both interstate and intrastate loads.
To get the license, you’ll need to pass the CDL skills test, which can be difficult without the proper training. Plus, even if you somehow pass the CDL skills test without training, most carriers won’t hire you without some formal training experience, like the kind you get from attending a quality, credible CDL training school. Put simply: It’s pretty important to get CDL training from a reputable school.
To learn more about all the CDL requirements, visit the Roadmaster FAQ page.
Roadmaster Drivers School provides Class A CDL training that takes about a month with qualified instructors to quickly get you trained to get on the road. In addition to the CDL training itself, Roadmaster also offers career services to help you find the job opportunity that’s right for you with one of the nation’s top carriers after graduation. Many Roadmaster students even get pre-hired before graduation and have their future jobs lined up while still in the first couple weeks of training!
What To Do While You Wait
When you’re excited about starting a career but limited in your potential due to age restrictions, it’s tough. Three years seems like a lifetime away! But with great truck drivers comes great responsibility. Here’s what you can do in the meantime.
Driving long trips requires good health. Make sure you’re in good shape to meet the demands of the trucker lifestyle! (Physical examinations are mandatory for most CDL seekers, by the way.) Eat well and train hard!
Don’t Do Drugs
This is obvious! Getting a CDL requires the successful completion of a five-stage drug test, and random drug tests are possible for all drivers with a CDL. (Many carriers use hair follicle tests that check for drug use in the previous 90 days.) Test positive and you’ll lose your CDL. It’s that simple.
Considering that in the United States it’s currently illegal to use illicit substances and alcohol under the age of 21, this is a huge no-no from a commercial truck driving perspective.
Keep a Clean Record
One of the biggest things that you need to avoid when starting your career as a truck driver, especially when under the age of 21, is keeping a clean driving record. At-fault accidents, DUI charges, and other dangerous driving scenarios can negatively affect both your potential job outlook and your ability to even get hired by companies. So stay out of trouble!
Avoid Speeding Tickets
Other things to watch out for are speeding tickets. Most drivers have disobeyed the posted speed limits within their state at least once. As a hopeful, soon-to-be truck driver, you will want to avoid this at all costs! Not only can speeding tickets disqualify you from the license and potential job opportunities, but the danger also posed to both yourself and other drivers on the road is elevated when exceeding state-mandated speed guidance. (But you know that already!) Car accidents can be life-altering — it’s potentially even worse for drivers operating heavy vehicles like trucking rigs and large delivery trucks.
Get a local driving job and a Class B CDL license to gain experience. A Class B CDL is a truck with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of 26,001 pounds including a towed capacity not exceeding 10,000 pounds. A popular way to make the most out of a Class B CDL is with industry-purposed vehicles like some larger firetrucks, dump trucks, and bucket trucks.
Still Want to Pursue Your Class A CDL at 18?
Driving for local logistics companies or regional companies within your state’s border is probably the best option as it’ll give you more real-world experience driving a truck and trailer with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds and a trailer weighing over 10,000 pounds.
Additionally, if you’re in the military, the Military Skills Test Waiver Program, available in every state, lets service personnel with a clean driving record of at least two years waive the need for a CDL driving test (skills test). Keep in mind that you must have held a military job within the last 12 months when applying for the waiver.
Ready to find out more information about trucking school? Get started today!