How to Become a Truck Driver
Truck Driving Jobs are listed everywhere and the money you can make as a professional truck driver has never been higher. There is a significant shortage of Class A CDL licensed truck drivers which is causing trucking carriers to pay more money to attract truck drivers. If you are ready to learn how to become a truck driver just follow these steps!
For you to qualify for your Class A CDL license and those readily available truck driver jobs, you will need to pass a few basic qualifications which we will outline.
Some medical conditions may prevent you from becoming a truck driver due to various Federal and state regulations relative to safety. The physical examination you take for your medical certificate confirms that you are healthy enough to safely perform the demanding job of a Class A Truck Driver and keep our nation’s roads safe.
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 a licensed medical examiner listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry.
To start, you must fill out your health history. This includes information on any surgeries you’ve had, medications you are currently using, specific diagnoses, substance issues and symptoms. From there, the medical examiner tests various parts of your health. They test your pulse, blood pressure, vision in both eyes and hearing. You must also pass a urinalysis test. This is used for drug testing and detection of blood, sugar, or protein in the urine. During the physical examination, your doctor checks your overall health and each body system, marking it as normal or abnormal. The doctor then sends the DOT physical form directly to the licensing agency in your state.
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 employed at a trucking carrier. Not all felons will qualify for jobs after obtaining their CDL license since several variables like the type of conviction, time since completion of sentence and whether the felony was violent or not will affect employment.
CDL training schools and trucking carriers look for drivers who have proven to be skilled and safe on the road. Speeding tickets, DUIs, and other traffic violations are important factors when getting a CDL but don’t automatically mean you’re disqualified.
Review the Entry Requirements for Training Schools
Before you receive a CDL, you’ll need a regular driver’s license. Be sure your license is valid and current. It would be best if you also had a high school diploma or GED for most training programs.
Compare community college and training school programs to determine the best option for your situation. At your local Roadmaster Drivers School location, you can enjoy affordable and hands-on training to jumpstart your career. Take the entrance exam at your local location or a third-party location before starting your truck driver training.
Study for Your CDL Exam
Receive the information you need from a skilled team at Roadmaster Drivers School. The entire training program takes about a month — you may be in a new and exciting career pretty quickly.
Depending on your situation, up to 100% of your tuition could be reimbursed. You may also still qualify for unemployment benefits or be able to work using your commercial learner’s permit. A learner’s permit allows you to take on some commercial trucking jobs, but it’s meant to be a temporary step as you prepare to take the CDL exam.
What Is a CDL?
A CDL is a commercial driver’s license. You need a Class A CDL to drive large trucks, whether it’s a large flatbed or tractor-trailer. This type of license allows you to drive vehicles that weigh over 26,001 pounds, and with this license, you can also carry a towed vehicle that weighs over 10,000 pounds.
As a truck driver, a CDL is necessary to get you on the road safely and within the law. New drivers need to first apply and get their Class A CDL license before they can drive a truck. Instructions for obtaining your CDL differ depending on the state you’re in, but you can expect to:
- Complete a CDL application for becoming a professional driver.• Submit several pieces of personal information, including proof of your identity.
- Pay an application fee.
- Get your photo taken.
- Pass a vision test.
- Pass knowledge tests.
- Pass the CDL Skills test.
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. To make sure that you are eligible your driving record is checked for the last 10 years in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia. You need to bring in the proof that your state accepts requires to show that you are medically qualified. Most types of commercial driving require a DOT medical card which means you need to have requiring a DOT physical. Your state may require specific documents it wants to see to prove your name and proof of residency.
Train to be a Truck Driver
Truck Drivers are required to hold a Class A CDL license to drive their tractor-trailers both in state and on long trips across state lines. To get a Class A CDL license, you should have the minimum required hours of combined classroom and “behind the wheel” training driving a truck. Truck Driving Schools, like Roadmaster, provide training to assist you in obtaining your Class A CDL license in about a month.
Take the Exam
The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Regulations exam is required before receiving your Class A CDL. A Class A CDL gives you a competitive application for high-paying jobs in a stable industry even without endorsements.
There are also Class B and C CDLs, but these licenses don’t certify you to drive the largest commercial vehicles. Choose a Class A CDL to expand your horizons and drive regional and long-haul routes.
Search for High-Paying Jobs
Your training program is a great opportunity to review the different types of truck driving jobs available. Are you looking for a local route that brings you home every night, or do you want to experience America on over-the-road, or OTR, routes?
Explore leading carriers and consider local, regional, and OTR positions to find a great job opportunity for your situation. These positions help you earn a stable, competitive salary.
Take Advantage of High Truck Driver Demand
The number of truck drivers is expected to grow between 2019 and 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Approximately three-quarters of carriers believe they will increase their driver pay in 2021, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The high number of retiring drivers, in addition to high freight demands, make it a great time to search for trucking jobs. There are plenty of available positions throughout the country, so you may not need years of experience in the industry to become a full-time driver.
Getting Your First Job as a Truck Driver
Once you have obtained your Class A CDL license you are ready to apply for entry-level truck driver jobs. 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. During the first few days of school, Placement Associates work with you to choose which company 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.
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.