How to Secure a Truck Driving Career
There are many reasons you may want to be a truck driver in the auto transport industry. The freedom of open roads is usually a big appeal. And these professionals are also an integral part of the supply chain, delivering vehicles throughout the country.
But how exactly do you become a truck driver in the auto industry? You’ll find out in this article.
What Does a Truck Driving Career Involve?
Before you pursue a truck driving career, you should first make sure you have what it takes. The training can easily take several months, and it doesn’t include learning the rules of the road rules. You’ll also be taught how to examine your rig for safety, manage long hauls, and secure your freight. All this requires absolute commitment.
In addition, truck drivers mostly operate on their own. If your vehicle breaks down, you may need to repair it yourself if emergency services are unavailable.
Additionally, you might need adequate customer service abilities to perform your job correctly. It requires you to communicate with dispatchers and clients receiving their shipments.
Plus, long shifts are common (up to 13-14 hours). More than 80% of truckers work over 40 hours per week, which is a lot of time on the road.
But the time you spend driving might also be the most appealing part of this career. You don’t have to deal with office politics or corporate grind. It’s just you, your rig, and enchanting landscapes.
Furthermore, finding jobs is relatively easy. There are numerous providers who offer lucrative salaries and benefits. You can check A-1 Auto Transport employment opportunities (a highly renowned transport company) to get a better idea of these perks.
Now that you’re more familiar with the responsibilities of truck drivers, let’s discuss what your career path includes.
What Should You Do to Become a Truck Driver?
Here’s what you can do to secure a truck driving career in the auto transport industry:
Determine if You’re Eligible
You can obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) if you’re 18. It should let you operate a truck in the vehicle shipment industry within your state. If you’re at least 21, you can drive a rig outside your home state.
You’ll also need a Department of Transportation medical report from a qualified examiner. They must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines to certify you’re eligible for your desired career.
Moreover, you must have these documents:
· Birth certificate
· Utility bill
· Social Security card
· Copy of motor vehicle record
If you attend a truck driving program outside your home state, ask the recruiter if there are special residency requirements.
You might meet these eligibility criteria, but don’t put your feet up just yet. Several aspects can lower your chances of getting a CDL:
· Specific prescription medications
· Sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure, or some other conditions
· Physical handicaps, such as missing limbs, toes, or fingers
· Serious offenses, including drunk driving
· Felony convictions for kidnapping, extortion, or arson
If you have any of the above physical disabilities or medical conditions, you might be able to get a written waiver from your physician. You can use it to prove your condition doesn’t interfere with your truck driving abilities.
Pass the Regular Driver’s License Exam
All truck drivers in the auto transport industry must have a CDL. However, you can’t get one if you don’t have a regular driver’s license first. Therefore, obtain one if you haven’t done so already. The fees range from $20 to $100.
Complete a GED Test or Graduate From High School
Many long-haul employers require truck drivers to hold a general educational development (GED) credential or a high school diploma. If you haven’t graduated from high school, most states allow you to take a GED test for $80-$150.
Start Your Professional Training
Auto transport truck driving companies, private driving schools, and community colleges offer training programs. Completing them makes you eligible for your CDL exam. Some states have unique accreditation and auditing programs. Familiarize yourself with the regulations in your area to enroll in the right institution.
Truck driving programs typically last for 12 months. Community college and private school training generally cost between $1,000 and $10,000. Because many people can’t afford this, some institutions offer financial aid to their students. They can also provide one-year degrees related to commercial freight or truck driving industries. They’re not necessary for starting your career, but they’re a great choice if you need a degree.
Finally, auto transport company-sponsored programs normally take between four and six weeks to complete. The average price is $5,000-$6,000. Most firms have financing options, discounts, and reimbursements for participants who are with their company for a certain period.
Earn Your License or Other Endorsements
As previously discussed, becoming a truck driver in the car shipping industry requires you to obtain a CDL. This license has many different classifications (e.g., A, B, C, etc.) based on the weight and size of the freight. The CDL-A license might be the most flexible option because it lets you haul large loads.
In addition, you might need endorsement codes on the license. These indicate the vehicles you can transport. You can learn more about endorsement codes on various websites, but consulting your state DMV is your best bet.
Applying for a CDL, completing the test, and taking out your license come with fees in most states. The largest expense is your license fee (between $30-$130).
Look for Job Placement Help
You can find career counseling and job boards in many truck driving associations and schools. These can help you connect with career mentors and employers, allowing you to find employment sooner.
Complete a Finishing Program
Most car transporters require recruits to complete in-house training programs. These truck training sessions (aka finishing programs) let you familiarize yourself with your vehicle, equipment, and materials relevant to your company. They generally take up to a month, and you get a supervisor monitoring your progress.
18 Wheels Are Waiting for You
You probably can’t wait to get behind the wheel of an auto transport truck. Don’t let your enthusiasm wane by working for a disreputable company. Only consider reliable firms when applying, such as A-1 Auto Transport. You’ll be happier with your position and less likely to change jobs.
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