Commercial Truck Driving is a unique industry. OTR (over-the-road) drivers are on the road for weeks at a time. Commercial truck drivers have irregular work hours. A drivers schedule and location will vary from day to day. One of the major advantages of a trucking career is that it only takes a short time for someone to be trained to be a professional driver. Students in a driving program can be trained relatively quickly whereas many other professions require months or even years of training.
Truck drivers will have to be trained and issued a commercial driver license (CDL) in order to drive a heavy truck. A U.S. issued CDL allows drivers to be able to travel throughout the United States, Canada and even Mexico. Therefore, drivers are often able to see many areas of the world that they have never seen before, earning money along the way.
Professional drivers are in such high demand that bonuses and rewards are often offered as a way to both recruit as well as retain drivers. Many companies are so eager to attract drivers that they offer sign on bonuses to drivers. These bonuses are popular among drivers and are often the deciding factor in drivers choosing to work for one company as opposed to another.
The two major types of truck driver employment are company drivers and owner/operators drivers.Company drivers are employees of a particular company and drive trucks provided by their employer. Most new drivers begin their trucking career as company drivers.
Owner/operators are individuals who either drive their own trucks or drive trucks leased to them through the trucking company which hires them or an a truck leasing company. Many drivers choose to become owner/operators after they have gained some experience as company drivers. One major benefit is that they can earn much more money than company drivers. Another benefit is that they will be buying their own truck most often through a lease purchase agreement with their employer. They will them haul freight exclusively for their employer. Owner/operators can be very successful if they have good business sense as well as truck driving experience.
Properly assessing your needs will help you to choose a company best suited to meet those needs. Do you like long haul driving which often involves spending many nights and weekends holed up in truck stops or do you prefer regional routs which allow you to be home often? Do you have commitments or special family needs which need to be considered? Whatever your needs are make sure the company you choose to work for will allow you to be able to keep your commitments.
New Drivers often don’t have to look for jobs. Recruiters regularly show up at driving schools looking to recruit drivers willing to work for the company they represent. Recruiters usually give students information about their respective companies which usually includes information about the requirements, salaries, benefits, etc. Recruiters usually try to impress drivers with the benefits of working for their company as opposed to another. Many drivers actually pre-select the companies they want to work for before completing their training.
Commercial truck drivers must meet certain requirements. They must have a Commercial Drivers License (CDL), A DOT Health Card and a clean criminal background in order to be hired by a trucking company. A person must be at least 18 years old to obtain a CDL. However, drivers under the age of 21 are limited to (instrastate) driving which limits them to operating within their state of licensing. Major trucking companies require driver applicants to be at least 23 years of age and have some experience. Other companies hire and train new drivers as long as they have a clean driving history.
Drivers must be physically able to drive trucks safely. Therefore, drivers must take a medical exam to access the the state of their health. They must pass a pre-employment physical exam to make sure that they don’t have any medical conditions which could impair their ability to operate the truck safely. This exam usually involves the examiner giving applicants a drug test as well as testing vision, hearing, reflexes as well as testing for high blood pressure. The examiner will access the applicants overall health and wellness. Applicants who pass the physical exam are given a DOT Medical Card which must be kept in the truck.
The trucking industry offers a vast array of opportunities for different type of truck drivers. Truck drivers necessarily have to drive 18 wheelers. They can choose to work as box truck drivers, tow truck drivers, garbage truck drivers, delivery drivers, etc. Truck drivers can work as nationwide truck drivers, regional truck drivers or local truck drivers. The career possibilities are