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)|
Source is BLS unless otherwise marked
*Source: Truck Driver Salary
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?
Want to know more about what life is like for long haul truckers? Read this Q&A withJosh at Popular Mechanics. Or about A day in the life of a commercial trucker.
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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