CDL & Truck Driving

Like most careers, in depth knowledge in your field of work is paramount, and so is CDL and Truck driving. For you to get a truck and hit the long highways, you need to definitely get a license as well as training of some sort to ensure that you are road worthy. So, let’s look into what this job entails and what is required of you to be a successful truck driver.

The General Duties of CDL and Truck Drivers

Basically, heavy and tractor-trailer drivers ferry merchandise from one place to another. A typical long-haul working day includes transporting and operating trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) capacity along with passengers and goods weighing more than 26,000 pounds. Be ready to ferry cargo between cities and several states when need arises. In summary, you will be required to;

  • Drive long distances
  • Adhere to all traffic laws
  • Inform dispatcher on any incidents encountered while on transit
  • Use materials such as ropes, blocks, chains, or covers to put the cargo in order.
  • Countercheck the trailers prior and after the trip.
  • Keep records of log on working hours as per the federal and state governing bodies.
  • Maintain cleanliness and sanctity of the truck and equipment.

Other Duties

Most truck driving companies have dispatchers who are supposed to guide the drivers.  With enough skills and experience, you will be allowed to choose your own routes but you must adhere to all road regulations that prohibit large trucks. At this point, you need to customize legal rest periods before the trip.

A long-distance driver deserves to rest if he has been working long hours. As a result, some companies will assign two drivers to work as a team to reduce on downtime. While on the journey, one of the drivers will sleep on the back while the other completes the journey.

CDL and Truck Driving as a career

Pay

After completing the course, your next alternative is to secure a job in a reputable truck company. So, how much will you expect as your wage? Well, the median wage for a heavy and truck-trailer truck driver by May 2017 was at $42,480 per annum or $20.42per hour. As a beginner, you may start by earning 10% less than $27,510. With time, your pay will be increased by 10% which is up to $64,000.

How is it calculated?

Your net pay depends on the miles you have covered along with bonuses. Some employers will calculate your wage depending on the nature of the cargo and the experience of the driver. If you belong to the owner-operator category, you will receive a share of the proceeds from shipping.

Job Outlook

As mentioned earlier, online retailers require services of long-haul drivers to keep their businesses in shape. As long as the demand for merchandise increases, more truck drivers will be needed to facilitate the supply chain movement. For this reason, the number of jobs created by the end of 2016 stood at 1,871,700. By 2026, it is expected to rise by 6%; you are looking at an employment change of 108,400 here.

Having trucks that consumer minimal fuel to facilitate an easier drive is part of the reason for embracing technological advancements in the industry. With adequate training and clean driving record, you can have a good job prospect.

How to become a CDL and Truck Driver

As long as you have high school diploma and testimonials from a professional truck driving school, then you are qualified to be a US long-distance truck driver.

Education and Training

To work in any reputable truck driving company, you must satisfy all requirements pertaining to high school diploma or equivalent. For starters, you will need to attend a professional truck driving school, where you will pursue training courses to learn how to take charge of large vehicles on highways or through jam-packed streets. Your course instructor will take you through a series of tests with regards to federal laws and regulations governing interstate truck driving.

There are three types of truck driving schools;

Private truck driving school

Here, you will dwell more on courses that produce results. Most of them sponsor some students by offering financial aid and job placement offers. As long as you are with them, you will be allowed to work for specific companies. It is no wonder they are termed as “sponsored” or “contract” training programs.

Community colleges

These institutions operate on an “open enrollment” formula after completing your high school. In terms of tuition fees, they are friendlier compared to private institutions. Moreover, they offer practical and innovative courses which will help the student to be creative.

Schools sponsored by truck companies

Looking for a quicker school with low up-front payments? It is time you considered going to a school operated by truck companies on condition that you work with them for at least a year to cover for training costs. The course takes between two and four weeks. In case you fail to meet all conditions, you will be compelled to reimburse tuition costs.

Training Courses

To be a CDL and truck driver, you need to be certified, licensed and accredited. You will go through training programs from state licensed schools that have passed through state agency and have fulfilled all the requirements including facilities, lecturers, financial and coursework. As a graduate, you need to showcase the minimum skills and knowledge standards for the US Department of Transportation and the truck department.

Anytime you apply for the position of a long-haul truck driver be prepared to produce a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Remember, each state has unique requirements in matters of qualifications for obtaining a CDL. The following steps apply:

  1. Verification of age and other CDL physical requirements.
  2. Passing through a series of written exams.
    • Passing written CDL endorsement examinations
  3. Passing a CDL driving test that includes a pre-trip inspection, control skills test and a driving test.

Interpersonal and Cognitive Skills

Apart from the regular paperwork, you are supposed to present the following important qualities;

  • Proper hand-eye reflex to help in maneuvering heavy vehicles.
  • Proper hearing ability
  • Be in a good health condition. If you have a history of epilepsy or high blood pressure, then it will be difficult to make sound decisions when in panic mode.
  • Accurate visual ability. Truck drivers must pass vision tests to tell the difference of traffic lights.

Similar Occupations

To understand the median pay for a truck driver, you will also need to examine other occupations in the same category. With a high school diploma or equivalent, a bus driver and a delivery truck driver will earn $33,010 and $29,250 p.a respectively. Others include, material recording clerks, hand laborers and material movers, taxi drivers and water transportation workers earning between $24,880 and $59,780.

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