Being a truck driver is a rewarding career for those who enjoy the open road and like to travel. Introverts often find driving a truck to be an excellent way to make a living, as it allows them to be alone for long periods of time.
In this blog post, we will go over how long it takes to be a truck driver along with the steps you need to take in order to start your career. Before we get started here are the basic things you will need to be a truck driver.
Answer To the Question: How Long Does It Take To Become a Truck Driver?
The amount of time can vary from person to person, but on average it can take about 7 weeks to become a truck driver. This varies based on many factors, including how much you need to learn and if you pass your tests on the first try.
In the rest of this blog post, we will go over what you need to do in order to start your career as a truck driver.
Have All Necessary Requirements
You may be wondering what the basic requirements to be a truck driver are. You need to be 21 years of age, have a basic driver’s license, have a social security number, and have a clean driving record. You will also need to pass a DOT physical examination which is required for all interstate truck drivers.
Keep in mind the above requirements are on a Federal level, each state may have more additional requirements. You need to check those requirements in order to get your CDL for that state.
Being this is a general blog post we will go over the basic requirements.
Step 1: Find a Good Trucking School
You can find these schools by doing a simple Google search or by asking around at local trucking companies.
How To Find a Good Trucking School?
Just like anything else in life, there are good and bad trucking schools. A good trucking school will help you get your CDL in a timely manner while also providing you with the necessary skills to be a successful truck driver.
A bad trucking school will not only take longer to get your CDL, but they will also not provide you with the skills needed to be successful. This can lead to you getting fired from your first trucking job or even getting into accidents.
There are a few things you should look for when finding a good school. The first is accreditation, which means the school is recognized by the Department of Transportation. The second is how long the school has been in business, as this will give you an idea of their experience. The last thing to look for is reviews, both online and from people you know.
How To Pay For Trucking School?
You can pay for it out of pocket if you go to a private school. Private schools will often have a financing option as well. You could take out a student loan, but you need to make sure that the school you are attending is accredited.
There’s also the opportunity to get your schooling paid for by a trucking company. This is called “Company Sponsored Training.” You will sign a contract with the trucking company stating that you will work for them for a certain amount of time after you graduate. The benefit of this is that you don’t have to pay back any money for your training, and it gives you a job lined up after you graduate.
The downside is that you are “locked-in” to that company for the amount of time specified in your contract. If you don’t like the company, or if they lay you off, you may have trouble getting hired by another trucking company because of your contract.
Comfort Gadgets for Drivers
Comfort is key for any driver spending extended hours behind the wheel. Consider a seat cushion with lumbar support or a heated blanket for those chilly Canadian nights. A portable back massager can ease tension and muscle fatigue, ensuring they arrive at their destination feeling refreshed.
Don’t Be Embarrassed If You Need More Hours
It’s important to note that everyone learns differently. The key is to feel comfortable in the truck and to be able to drive it like you own it.
Some people can do this in as little as 40 hours, while others may need 80 or more. The key is not to get discouraged, and to keep practicing until you feel comfortable.
Safety is the most important thing, so take your time and make sure you are comfortable before moving on.
Step 2: Study The CDL Book
You will be given a CDL book when you start trucking school. This book contains everything that you need to know to pass the CDL test.
You need to study this book in its entirety. It is important to note that the questions on the test are not always going to be word for word from the book, but they will be based on the information in the book.
There may be some things in the book that you feel like you may not need to know, but it is important to remember that you never know what may be on the test.
How To Pass The Written Test
Know that it isn’t common sense. Just because you have been driving a car for years doesn’t mean you will know the answer to every question on the test.
Do not wing this test. You need to study the book and make sure you understand all of the material.
There are a few ways to study for the test. The first is to take a practice test, which you can find online or in the CDL book.
The second way is to go through the questions with a friend or family member who has their CDL. This way you can ask questions and make sure you understand the answers.
Step 3: Get Cleared Medically
This is mentioned above, but it is important to get cleared medically to be a driver.
You will need to get a DOT physical, which you can find a list of certified doctors for on the FMCSA website.
You will also need to get your vision and hearing checked.
If you have any medical conditions, make sure to disclose them to the doctor, as there are certain conditions that will disqualify you from getting your CDL.
Depending on the state you live in, once you become a driver you may need to renew this physical every year or two.
Step 4: Earn Your CLP or Commercial Learner’s Permit
Once you have completed steps 1-3, you will be able to go to the DMV and get your CLP, or commercial learner’s permit.
How To Get Your CLP
To do this, you will need to bring your DOT physical form, a copy of your birth certificate or passport, and a copy of your social security card.
You will also need to bring two forms of residency, such as a utility bill or bank statement.
Once you have all of these documents, you will need to fill out an application and pass a written exam.
The written exam will be based on the information in the CDL book, so make sure you study before you go (as stated above). If you pass the written exam, you will be able to get your CLP.
Cooking/Food on the Go
For those who consider their rig their second home, cooking on the road is a necessity. A portable slow cooker or a reliable 12V microwave can turn their cabin into a culinary haven. Additionally, investing in a sturdy cooler or a mini-fridge can keep their snacks fresh and their beverages cool during those long hauls through the Great White North.
Step 5: Practice Driving
Now that you have your CLP, it is time to start practicing.
How To Go About Practicing
You will need to find a trucking company or truck driver who is willing to let you practice with them.
Make sure that the person you are practicing with has their CDL and is comfortable with your driving.
You should also make sure that you are comfortable with them, as you will be spending a lot of time with this person.
The key to this step is to get as much experience as possible.
You need to be able to back up, park, and do all of the maneuvers that you will be tested on for your CDL exam.
Step 6: Schedule Your DMV Appointment
Once you feel like you are ready, it is time to schedule your DMV appointment.
You will need to bring your CLP, DOT physical form, birth certificate or passport, social security card, and two forms of residency.
You will also need to bring the truck that you will be taking the test in.
Make sure that the truck is in good working condition and that you are comfortable driving it.
Step 7: Take The Test
The final step is to take the test.
This will be a practical exam, where you will need to show that you can do all of the maneuvers that you have been practicing.
Make sure that you are confident and take your time.
How To Pass The Test
There are many portions of the test you need to pass, so make sure you are prepared for all of them.
First is the Air break test. You’ll be asked to demonstrate how the truck’s braking system works.
The first is the pre-trip inspection, where you will need to show that you know how to inspect the truck.
Next is the cab inspection, where you need to show that you know how to check the cab for safety. You have to identify all the parts within the cab and explain their functions.
You will need to pass the skills test which includes backing, parallel right, parallel left, and shifting.
You will be graded on your ability to stay in your lane, turn, park, and use signals.
The examiner will have a checklist of everything you need to do and will be grading you on each task.
Here is an example of some of the things you may need to take into consideration.
Step 8: Get Your CDL
Once you have passed the test, you will be able to get your CDL.
Evaluate Whether Or Not Being a Truck Driver Is Right For You
Though it may seem like an easy decision, there are actually a few things you should consider before making your final decision. Below we will go over a few questions you should ask yourself to help make this decision.
Do I Like To Be Alone?
If you’re considering a career as a truck driver, there’s one question you should ask yourself. Do you enjoy spending long periods of time alone? If your answer is yes, then being a truck driver could be an excellent choice for you. The solitude of the open road can be peaceful and relaxing. However, if your answer is no, then being a truck driver may not be the best career move for you. You may feel lonely and isolated while out on the road.
Do I Like To Travel?
If you enjoy seeing new places and exploring, then becoming a truck driver is an excellent career choice for you. As a truck driver, you will have the opportunity to travel all across the country and see parts of the country that you would likely never see otherwise. If you do not like to travel, then becoming a truck driver is probably not the right career move for you.
Do I Mind Working Long Hours?
Truck drivers often work long hours, sometimes driving for 12 hours or more at a time. If you do not mind working long hours, then becoming a truck driver is probably a good career choice for you. However, if you prefer to work shorter shifts, then becoming a truck driver is probably not the right career move for you.
Becoming a truck driver is a great career choice for those who enjoy the open road and like to travel. If you don’t mind working long hours, then becoming a truck driver is probably a good career choice for you. However, if you prefer to work shorter shifts, then becoming a truck driver is probably not the right career move for you.
Other FAQ About Being a Truck Driver
Now that we’ve gone over all the steps and requirements necessary to earn your truck driver’s license, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about being a truck driver.
How Much Does It Cost To Get My CDL?
The cost of getting your CDL will vary depending on the state you are in, as well as the type of license you wish to obtain. In general, however, the cost of getting your CDL can range from $500 to $2000.
What Is The Highest Paying Truck Driver Job?
Owner Operators make the most money per year, when it comes to trucking jobs. That is followed by Ice road drivers, oversized load drivers, and Specialty Vehicle Haulers. Take a look at the full list here.
How Much Do Truck Drivers Get Paid?
The average truck driver’s salary is $45,260 per year. Owner-operators can make upwards of $200,000 per year.
Do Truck Drivers Have a Good Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance as a trucker can be difficult and it takes a lot of dedication and time management to make it work. The best way to achieve a good work-life balance is to plan your days and weeks in advance, set goals, and stick to them.
Finding time for your family is definitely important, but so is making time for yourself. It’s important to make sure that you’re taking care of your mental and physical health, as well as getting enough rest.
Why Do Truck Drivers Quit?
There are many reasons truck drivers may quit. Below we will go over a few of the main reasons.
Loneliness is one of the primary reasons why truck drivers quit their job. The nature of the job requires them to drive for long periods of time, which can be isolating. Many truckers find it challenging to cope with being away from their loved ones and friends for extended periods.
Home Sickness: Another common reason truckers quit is because of homesickness. When you’re on the road, you can often feel like you’re missing out on what’s happening at home. This can be especially difficult for those with young children or close family ties.
Boredom: Another common reason truckers quit is because of boredom. When you’re driving for long periods of time, it’s easy to get bored. This can be especially true if you’re driving through areas that you’re not familiar with.
Pay: While the pay for truck drivers has increased in recent years, it’s still not as high as some other careers. This can be a factor for some truckers when deciding whether or not to quit.
Safety: Safety is always a concern for truckers. With the amount of time spent on the road, it’s not surprising that many truckers are concerned about their safety. If you’re not comfortable with the risks associated with driving a truck, it may be something that causes you to quit.
Health: Health is another concern for truckers. A sedentary lifestyle and long hours can take a toll on your health. If you’re not in good health, it may be something that causes you to quit. Below we will go even deeper into truckers and health.
Do Truck Drivers Have Health Problems?
Truck drivers can often have health problems because of the long hours they work and the sedentary lifestyle they live. Some truck drivers quit because of these health problems, but others find ways to manage their health so they can continue driving.
It’s important as a truck driver to take care of your health, so you can stay on the road and keep driving.
Some of the best ways to manage your health as a truck driver are:
- Pack healthy meals and snacks to eat while you’re on the road.
- Exercise when you can, even if it’s just a short walk.
- Get enough sleep, so you’re well-rested for your next shift.
- Take breaks often, so you’re not sitting in the same position for too long.
- If you have any health problems, talk to your doctor and find ways to manage them so you can continue driving.
What Are The Different Types of Trucking Jobs?
There are many different types of trucking jobs, so you can choose the one that best suits your skills and interests. Here are some of the most popular types of trucking jobs:
- Local Truck Driver: A local truck driver delivers goods within a certain radius of their home base. Local truck drivers usually have set schedules and routes.
- Regional Truck Driver: A regional truck driver delivers goods to locations within a certain region. Regional truck drivers may have some flexibility in their schedules, but they typically have to be away from home for several days at a time.
- Over-the-Road Truck Driver: An over-the-road truck driver delivers goods to locations all across the country. Over-the-road truck drivers are typically away from home for weeks or even months at a time.
- Owner Operator: An owner-operator is an independent truck driver who owns their own truck and trailer. Owner-operators typically contract with a trucking company to haul loads.
- Team Driver: A team driver is a truck driver who drives with another driver. Team drivers typically take turns driving and sleeping, so they can stay on the road for longer periods of time.
Becoming a truck driver is not a difficult process and can be done relatively quickly. However, it is important to remember that truck driving is a demanding job and requires individuals to have a strong work ethic and be able to handle long hours alone. If you are interested in becoming a truck driver, make sure to do your research and talk to others in the industry to get a better idea of what the job entails.