How to become a truck driver in today’s economy? It’s a popular search. Becoming a truck driver is easier than you might think. For many companies, the bottom line is signing up the newest and best drivers they can find. Freight is a huge industry and companies of all industries need to have their products delivered to warehouses, docks, ports, industrial plants, production facilities and to the front door of enterprises themselves. The work is out there in abundance. But since it's a very important job, as your haul or ‘load’ could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, you need to have the right training and mindset.
How to become a truck driver is not as daunting as you may think. First, you need to be able to drive a commercial motor vehicle or (CMV). This is pretty much the standard way of entering into the industry. You need to show that you have the skill to drive large and very complex vehicles, on the open road. You will need to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) which can be done by passing the tests through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You need to do this in your state.
In order to earn your CDL, you must go to a certified truck driving school. Each school has its own program and style of teaching. They all have their own standards and they require their students to drive a certain way. One day you will be joking and laughing, comparing how you were taught with another group of drivers. The bottom line is they will all teach you up to the standard that is required, but there are many different styles of teaching, driving, awareness on the road and so forth.
Try a truck driving school near you, or contact your local community college if you can’t find a trucking school. They will not only teach you about driving but they will educate you about the trucking industry. This will alert you to such things as driving standards in different states, countries and continents. You'll also learn about standards and practices within different industries. You will also need to learn how to handle different materials. You might also learn about trucking unions and social groups for truckers to keep in touch with each other and learn from each other.
You will also need to have a clean history. Although it may not be a hindrance in some job applications, having no criminal history, and a good working track record will be important for some jobs. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT) you need to be over 21 years in age in order to apply for a CDL. As you would expect, you need to pass a drug exam and physical test. You have to be sober, without any drug abuse or addiction problems and generally physically fit in order to operate a heavy freight vehicle.
As previously mentioned, you have to attain your CDL license. This is the key that opens all other doors. When you are authorized to be able to drive commercial vehicles, you can be trained to drive numerous different machines. You need a CDL to drive a forklift, dump truck, crane and/or a truck. You will also need to train how to be able to handle hazardous materials as many companies will not take on a driver that is not able to do so. Why? Well, they will sometimes need to shift some potentially hazardous material, whether it be to a production plant or to a landfill and they need drivers that are able to avoid contaminating the local environment, while they are on their journey. It's also because they don’t want to be taken to court due to a driver being injured or suffering from some kind of illness or injury, due to their own negligence or lack of education.
Most trucking companies will also have in their requirements to become a truck driver the need for their employees to have a good temperament. We all know how stressful driving can be in a car, let alone an 18-wheeler. Therefore you need to have a good attitude and be able to keep your cool while those around you are not behaving as they should. If you have no experience, but you can show that you are willing to focus on the job, and have high levels of concentration for long periods of time, these attributes of yours will make you a very attractive potential employee. Truck driver apps are also helpful.
The economy is in recession and you may be double-thinking your aim to become a truck driver at this time. As with any recession, during the recovery, logistical industries will always be needed. Businesses will want to hire as many truck drivers as they can, so enterprises can once again, begin to deliver products to their customers. Not just that, but warehouses and production plants need to have delivered large components, materials and pieces that allow for them to keep running and working.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the evidence shows that the trucking industry is hiring at an alarming rate. In May, there were 1.432 million truckers on the roads. In June, there were 1.437 million, an additional 5,000. In July it was 1.439 million, an increase of 2,000. But in August it was 1.449 million, an overall addition of 17,000 new hires in the span of just 4 months. Obviously, this means that there is plenty of opportunity and if you’re considering making a career change or developing your career in the trucking industry, now is the perfect time to start training and looking for a job.
You need to have a CDL so you can drive vehicles in the class in which the truck you are given is able to be used. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is the regulatory agency which is used for Career Schools in colleges as well as commercial truck driving schools in the state. The programs which the TWC regulate, must adhere to the strict guidelines that promote the aims of the best standards of safe and skilled truck driving. The Texas Department of Public Safety also has a lot of useful information on their website. They go into more detail about what they expect of truck drivers and how they should behave on the roads and highways. They demand the utmost in cld training, and they elevate certain training programs above others.
Passing your CDL exam is the most important thing, as this will allow you to choose the type of trucking you want to do. If you want to do short haul rather than long haul or vice versa, you can always choose, once you have become a certified commercial vehicle driver.
In Texas, there are 3 classes of truck driving.
If you want higher paying trucking jobs, it's best to achieve a Class A. You will face more rigiour skills tests
You’ll also need to pass the practical tests of operating the vehicle.
In Florida, one could argue that to become a truck driver is a little easier or simpler. Firstly, you need to have a CDL. You must possess a commercial driver license and you should be at least 18 years old instead of 21, which is the norm for many other states. However, if you are under 21, you will not be allowed to make intrastate operations. Therefore, you will be restricted to truck driving jobs that involve, delivering loads to locations just inside the state of Florida.
Before you can apply for a Florida CDL, you will need to apply for a Conditional Learner’s Permit. This allows you to start driving full stop. The CDL training will involve learning how to drive but if you’re not cleared for a learner’s permit then you cannot proceed. The CLP will see if you have any vision concerns, any drug or alcohol concerns and if you are legally allowed to be on the roads, such as a legal citizen, no driving bans or revoked licenses, etc.
California is one of the most attractive truck driving locations because of how much work is available. It's a huge state, with a large population and a very large economy. Therefore, the amount of work available to truckers is in abundance and it's only growing. Many companies choose to set up their headquarters in California. The tech giants are in the state because of the sheer talent pool and the facilities that make it so easy to hire, employ and sustain their workforce.
But for those of you that are seeking to become truck drivers in the state, there are some basic eligibility hurdles you need to jump over. Passing your CDL at the California DMV is where it all begins. The DMV will do a basic control skills test, vehicle inspection test, road tests and practice tests. Seeing ahead, shifting gears, communicating and controlling your speed and space are all things that will be tested and examined.
One of the most significant areas of testing will be driving emergencies. This will look at your ability to spot accidents, while they are happening. Your skill to steer away from them and avoid damaging your truck is important but being able to control the truck and not damage the load is paramount. As many trucks are top-heavy, you will need to learn how to control the weight under speed and sudden steering inputs.
You will also be tested on your ability to stop safely and quickly. Using the brakes and not ‘stab braking’ is imperative. If you jolt onto the brakes, the tires will lock and skid, not slowing you down as effectively as a controlled pressure braking technique would. Just like in a car, if you stamp on the brakes, it will take you longer to stop, potentially cause you to hit something because you didn’t stop and cause damage to the truck.
Be prepared to be tested on brake failures, such as when you have a loss of brake fluid or brake fade on long sloping hills. Tire failure is also a big test. It's not uncommon for trucks to have a blowout on the highway. You need to learn how to control this, not panic and slow the truck down to a safe stop. This involves learning about physics and keeping a cool head under intense stress.
The last one catches many people out. Yes, you need to be an actual citizen of the state, in order to be accepted for driving jobs that emanate from within California. You may not want to make this kind of move, but the state is very attractive because of how large and busy it is, all year round.
The other things you will be tested on are similar to other states and driving schools. You need to be able to perform a vehicle inspection test. Look for things that don’t look right or could be threats to another person, such as a fellow driver or pedestrian. Look for oil leaks and other leaks such as hydraulic fluid of the attachment equipment and brake fluid, etc. You should be able to operate the basic equipment used for most jobs, which is why the truck driving school of the state will show you how to do.
How to become a truck driver on your first attempt? Well, in order to pass all your tests first time, you need to learn about the commercial truck industry. What kind of things do customers require and need from someone like you?
Of course every single trucker needs to know the law of the land he or she is driving in and into. Therefore you should be familiar with Form 7501, which is for customs and border protection of the US government. Knowing what this form is about, how to fill it in and why it's important is very critical to your job as a truck driver. For one thing, you would put your employer into hot water if you didn’t get the forms right and the company was punished by receiving a fine. If you don’t know this type of legal requirement, you would be limited in your role and employers wouldn’t give you jobs whereby you are entering into another state or country. For example, you need to know the customs laws of the US and Canada, if you are to make day trips to Canada and return the same day.
The US Army designates a transport truck driver as an 88M operator. This job entails delivering items and loads for the US Armed forces, but mostly the Army. your job description is as follows.
You provide motor transport in the wheeled vehicles, transport personnel and cargo sectors of the army. You will be supporting the national guard with all their sustainable structure needs, and moving equipment around the battlefield is need be. As you can imagine it's not the safest of all jobs but it's also quite rewarding. You are working with the men and women that keep the country safe and you’re in the middle of the logistics challenges they face every day. As you can also imagine, you get to travel a lot and you can be called to provide your skills and services, overseas and drive in foreign countries. However, you will need to be prepared to do the following things.
US Army trucking is really perhaps the most intense kind of trucking there is. However it's very exciting, will sharpen your skills and only the best of the best manage to make it. It's a badge of honor which you can wear and you can always take what you have learned into the civilian world. Doing this would net you high-paying jobs thanks to your experience and skill.
We recommend that you do your own research, but contact us for any further questions you might have. We have a wealth of knowledge within the industry and our training is second to none.
We pride ourselves on providing modern trucking jobs that have incredible future prospects, job progression and opportunities that you won’t get anywhere else. Don’t hesitate, contact us today and let’s start a conversation about your desires in the trucking profession.
Fill out our trucking job application today to learn more, even about truck driving jobs in Modesta, CA. We have OTR, Regional and limited local truck driving jobs. Connect with us today at 866-980-2710 and enjoy a new cab with a new company.