What is Trucking?
Truck drivers transport goods from one location to another. They must have good vision, stay alert, and be skilled drivers (most have a commercial drivers license). While trucking can include a wide range of jobs everything from a local delivery van to a truck specially designed to carry wind turbines up a mountain—here are some of the most common roles:
|Freight Hauler||Freight haulers transport goods in the large single trailer vehicles you see on the highway.|| |
|OTR Truck Driver||OTR stands for “over the road,” which refers to drivers who transport materials over long distances.|| |
|Flatbed Driver||Flatbed trucks are usually used to transport odd-shaped items, military vehicles, and oversize freight.|| |
|Tanker Driver||Tankers are used to transport liquids.Sometimes these materials are hazardous, so driver must be trained to act quickly in case of emergency.|| |
|LTL Freight Drivers||LTL stands for “less than truckload.” This means thatLTL drivers transport smaller shipments.|| |
There are more extreme trucking jobs—like ice road trucking, where you haul freightover frozen waterways (yup, that’s a thing). But these jobs are often dangerous anddifficult to get, though they’re also some of the best paid in the industry.
Fast training, no upfront costs
Earning a commercial driver’s license (CDL) takes only a month or two. And, while you can pay thousands of dollars to a trucking school, you don’t have to. Many companies will sponsor you. That means they pay your tuition and, in return, you agree to work for them for a set period (usually a year) at the end. So you graduate with no debt and as table job. Not bad, right?
Good starting pay
With a commercial drivers license (CDL), a first-year driver can starting driving within a few months and make a full-time income on par with many recent college graduates.
**Source: CNN Business
Earn big money
There aren’t many industries where you can expect a starting salary of $40,000 or more without a college degree. And that’s just the beginning. For commercially licensed truckers, average salaries are $62,752 per year. Median annual wage for a Walmart truck driver is $73,000.
And drivers who specialize can potentially earn much more.
|Ice Road Truck Driver||Deliver fuel,food, equipment and supplies to across frozen waterways inCanada and Alaska|| ||$80,000-$120,000(For 3 months work)|
|OTR Truck Driver||OTR stands for “over the road, ”which refers to drivers who transport materials overlong distances.|| ||$82,000*(average annual pay)|
|Hazmat Truck Driver||Transport hazardous materials,usually in a tanker.|| ||$55,714(average annual pay**)|
|Oversize LoadDriver||Transport loads that are too big to fit on a flatbed trailer or over 250,000 lb|| ||$53,000(average annual pay)|
Shortage of qualified drivers
By the end of 2015, the industry was short 48,000 qualified truck drivers. By 2024, that number is projected to reach almost 175,000. That means a lot of available jobs now and in the future.Source: CNN Business
Is Trucking right for me?
Being a truck driver, especially a long haul driver, is not just a job. It’s a lifestyle. You’ll be on the road for days or weeks at a time, often living in a tiny space and spending most of your waking time behind the wheel. Think you’re ready for life on the road? Ask yourself:
- Are you prepared to be away from home for days or weeks at a time?
- Can you stay alert for long periods?
- Do you consume alcohol or drugs (many employers will randomly test on-duty drivers)?
- Can you sit for long periods?
- Are you ready to live in a confined space?
How would I get started in Trucking?
There aren’t any formal education requirements to be a truck driver. But if you want to drive a vehicle over 26,000 lb (that includes vehicle, passengers, and cargo) you’ll need a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which means passing written, skill, and vision tests. To prepare, most people attend a private or company-sponsored truck driving school.
|Truck driving school||Company-sponsored driving school|
|Advantages|| || |
|Disadvantages|| || |
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