Truck drivers are needed in most industries. A career in trucking can be a stable and rewarding one, but it does take some time to prepare for becoming a professional driver.
According to Statista, Class 8 heavy-duty truck sales expanded by some 15.5 percent in 2021 in the US.
New drivers must consider many aspects of getting ready to work as a trucker. To become a trucker, you’ll need to get your CDL (Commercial Driver’s License), find a job, and have a truck to haul freight.
So, if you wonder how long it takes to become a truck driver? Read on.
The following article will answer eight FAQS about the training process and provide you with essential information about preparing for your new career.
1) What is CDL Training?
A CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) must drive a big rig and other commercial vehicles.
There are three steps to get your license:
Learner’s Permit – To get a learner’s permit, you must be at least 18 years old and pass a written test (provided by the Commercial Vehicle Training Association).
Training – A CDL requires at least 35 hours of behind-the-wheel training, but look for a program that offers more.
Classroom Training – Tuition varies, so check with your state. Once you’ve taken your written test and had your training course, it’s time to take the driving test!
2) How Long Does CDL Training Take?
Trucking is a demanding occupation. It requires both emotional and physical strength. Truckers drive on the road for days at a time, so you have to be in good health when applying for jobs with truck driving schools.
When you think of how long it takes to become a truck driver, it is better to get the correct idea.
Basic training lasts about five weeks, but you’ll want to be able to drive your new rig practically on day one. That’s why most companies won’t hire you until you’ve completed their CDL training program.
Once you’ve taken all the steps for getting a job and starting working, it can take about three months to a year before your trucking career takes off.
3) How Much does CDL Training Cost?
Tuition fees at trucking schools vary from state to state, but tuition is generally comparable to a standard two-year degree program. Some training facilities offer financial aid or jobs on campus that can offset the cost of tuition. Inquire about scholarships, grants, and other programs that could help you pay for CDL training.
4) What Does a Truck Driver do?
Once you’ve earned your license and completed the company’s training program, it’s time to begin hauling! A professional trucker can expect to take loads from point to point as part of a team (with other drivers) or as an individual who carries freight for their own assigned company.
A trucker’s duties are diverse but generally consist of the following:
- Drive safely
- Evaluate road conditions
- Arrange freight
- Forklift drivers
- Load/unload cargo
- Secure loads
5) How Do You Become a Truck Driver with No Experience?
If you’re looking for entry-level jobs as a truck driver, you have several options. Truck driving schools offer training programs for those who already have their CDL or no experience at all.
Some companies will hire a veteran as a company driver and provide the individual with on-the-job training to become a professional. Others will employ individuals looking for entry-level jobs without CDLs as “helpers.”
In some situations, you may have to work as a helper for some time before being eligible to take on company driving jobs. With a blend of classroom and on-the-job training, though, it’s possible.
6) Are There Benefits to Trucker School?
Besides the obvious one of coming out of the training program ready to hit the road, there are several benefits. Most trucking companies offer their drivers regular pay, medical insurance, paid vacations/holidays, and even retirement plans.
Moreover, having your CDL will increase your marketability when applying for jobs with other freight-haulers (such as railroad companies). With the competition getting more brutal in the freight-hauling industry, it can make a difference when job hunting to say that you’ve already completed training for this line of work.
7) What Do You Need to Become a Truck Driver?
To drive big rigs, you need more than just your driver’s license. The most common document you’ll need is your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Some companies will also want to see a high school diploma or GED.
Some companies may require additional certifications after the individual has been hired, such as HazMat and tanker endorsements. Still, they generally won’t be issued until the trucker has completed some driving hours.
8) What Skills Do You Need to Be a Truck Driver?
Along with meeting the requirements for a driver’s license, you need specific skills. These include:
- Handling a tractor-trailer rig safely and efficiently
- Keeping up with traffic conditions
- To handle demanding customers and packages
After training, truckers must be aware of the road conditions and make adjustments as necessary.