Becoming a truck driver can be a great choice for those who want a secure and well-paying job. Truck drivers travel across the country and can find security in knowing that they work in an industry that makes the economy go. Because of the level of difficulty involved in driving a big rig, you will need adequate training before you ever hit the road on your own. If you wish to become a big rig truck driver, investigate what the regulations are in your state and find a good truck driving school to attend.
Things You'll Need
- Class A commercial driver's license
- Good driving record
- 20/40 vision in each eye
Enroll in a truck driving school. The truck driving school will train you in all you need to know about driving big rigs and prepare you to get your Class A commercial driver's license. Check if the truck driving school is certified to ensure that the school is of good quality. Many schools are not certified, but you may feel better about the school if it is.
Ask the truck driving school instructors how much time you will spend behind the wheel. Many times, the schools will tell you how many hours their class is, but you want to make sure you have enough time behind the wheel to get the feel and experience of driving a truck. You don't want to finish the class and not feel comfortable behind the wheel.
If you don't have the money to attend a truck driving school, ask the schools about payment plans. Many truck driving schools will loan you the money for their school and let you make a payment plan. Inquire about this when talking to them.
After attending school, you will need to pass the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) exam, administered by the United States Department of Transportation. You'll also have to pass a physical exam. The physical exam will need to be taken every two years, and when you pass you will be given a green card to carry with you at all times when you are driving. Your truck driving school will let you know about these requirements and, when you are ready, will set you up to pass your written test and driving test for your Class A commercial driver's license.
Once you have completed your truck driving school, you will have obtained your Class A commercial driver's license. This is the license that shows that you can handle a big rig on the road and is what you need to get hired as a truck driver. Some schools will help you network with employers after you have received your Class A license.
With your license secured, you can go job hunting by searching your local classifieds section for truck driver jobs or you can search the Internet. Truck drivers generally are in high demand.
Tips & Warnings
- Obtain additional endorsements such as a hazmat endorsement, passenger endorsement, doubles/triples endorsement or tank endorsement. These endorsements will make you more employable by a company that requires their drivers to have these. Bring up endorsements at your truck driving school if they don't mention it.
- There are some truck driving companies that will train you for free, but you will have to work for them for a required time such as a year or two.
- Although there are some companies that will hire you without a high school diploma or GED, you will greatly increase your chances at getting a better job if you have a degree.
- Truck drivers sometimes spend a lot of time away from home. If you want to find a truck driving job where you can go home every night, look for a local truck driving job. A job as a local driver pays less than a job as an over-the-road driver who travels from state to state and sometimes across the country.
- If you have lots of moving violation tickets or a DUI on your driving record, it may be difficult for you to get a truck driving job.
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
Facts About Driving a Big Truck
If you're interested in driving a big truck, you'll need to study for and obtain a CDL, or commercial driver's license, in...
How to Drive Big Rigs in the Mountains
Driving an 18-wheeler across steep mountains grades and winding passes can be scary to even a seasoned truck driver. It is especially...
- How to Lease Big Rig Trucks
- How to Buy a Big Rig
How to Pass the Written CDL Test
Drivers of buses, trucks and other commercial vehicles need to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL). In addition to a driving test,...