Hitting the Open Road: How to Become a Truck Driver

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Jul 11, 2019

Jul 11, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

There are more than 1.8 million truck drivers working in the United States right now.

The field is growing at a rapid rate, too, so now is the perfect time to jump in if you've ever considered a career as a truck driver.

There are a lot of benefits that come with this position, but it takes a special kind of person to be able to do it long-term.

If you've been wondering how to become a truck driver and whether you have the necessary traits for the job, keep reading. Explained below is everything you need to know.

Why Become a Truck Driver?

For those who are interested in working as a truck driver but aren't quite sure about it yet, knowing more about the benefits this career has to offer might help seal the deal.

The following are some of the greatest reasons why people choose to become truck drivers:

See More of the Country

If you've always wanted to travel and see all that this country has to offer, a career as a truck driver might be perfect for you. You'll have tons of opportunities to see parts of the country you might never have a chance to see otherwise.

Earn a Good Living

Truck drivers earn a very good salary. In your first year, you can earn more than $40,000, and there are opportunities to bonuses and pay raises the longer you continue working, too.

Enjoy Great Benefits

In addition to a good salary, you also get to enjoy great benefits. This includes health insurance for yourself and your family.

Experience Freedom

As a truck driver, you get to spend a lot of time alone. If you're the type who prefers solo work, truck driving is a great option for you.

Traits of a Good Truck Driver

At this point, you're probably a little more intrigued by the idea of working as a truck driver.

Before you decide that this is the career for you, though, it's a good idea to do a bit of soul-searching and consider whether or not you have the right temperament and personality.

The following are some essential traits a good truck driver ought to possess:

Reliability

Truck drivers must be very reliable. You need to be able to show up to places when you're supposed to and stick to a schedule to ensure goods get delivered on time.

Courtesy

It's true that truck drivers spend a lot of time alone. That doesn't mean that you'll never have to interact with others, though.

There will be times when socialization is required, and you'll need to be able to communicate in a polite and effective way.

Mechanical Skills

Basic mechanical skills go a long way when it comes to being a successful truck driver.

If you can handle basic repairs and diagnose problems, you'll be able to make sure your truck meets industry standards and is safe to drive.

Stress Management Skills

There are times when driving a truck can be stressful, such as when you're sitting in traffic or driving in inclement weather. In these times, it's important to keep your cool and avoid overreacting.

Alertness

Finally, a good truck driver must be able to stay alert. Truck drivers have to drive for long periods of time, and you'll need to be alert and focused to keep yourself and other drivers safe.

How to Become a Truck Driver

Now that you've read more about why you might want to be a truck driver and the skills necessary to be a good one, do you think this is the career for you?

If you want to become a truck driver, these are the steps you'll have to take:

Obtain a License

The first step to becoming a truck driver is obtaining your CDL (or commercial driver's license). Every state has different CDL requirements, so you'll need to do some research to find out which courses you have to take.

Complete Basic Training

In addition to obtaining your CDL, you may also need to attend some basic truck driving courses before you can begin working. These courses may be offered by a local community college or a private truck driving school in your area.

Start Your Job Search

When your education is complete and you have your license, you can begin searching for jobs.

Check online job boards and classified ads to learn about companies hiring in your area.

The school at which you completed your training may also be able to help you find a job and find out which companies that are hiring.

Gain Experience

Now, it's time for the fun part: gaining experience as a truck driver. The more experience you have, the more opportunities there will be for you to take on more responsibility and earn more money.

Keep Your License Up-to-Date

You'll need to be sure to keep your license up-to-date once you begin working, too. Check with your state's DMV to find out how often you need to renew your license and the requirements for renewal.

Consider Additional Certifications

If you want more opportunities to take on extra responsibility, it helps to have additional CDL certifications under your belt.

Make sure you're looking into continuing education courses that can help to broaden your horizons and make you more marketable. 

Become a Truck Driver Today

Do you think you have what it takes to be a great truck driver? If so, then it's time to start pursuing this new career path.

Now that you know how to become a truck driver, you'll be able to plan out your journey and make sure you're taking the right steps to get the training you need and ensure you land a job as soon as possible.

Not sure if being a truck driver is right for you? Do you want to learn about other career options before you commit to this one? 

If you're still trying to figure out the best career for yourself, be sure to check out some of the other articles for job seekers on our site.

We have hundreds of articles explaining all kinds of jobs, and we're adding more all the time!