A career as a trucker can be very fulfilling for an individual. Truck drivers keep the economy running as they ensure that essential commodities get to retail stores on time for consumption or usage. With the shortage of good drivers, truckers are highly paid for their experience, and companies offer them other benefits, such as medical insurance. While trucking is a good job, the long hours on the road can become exhausting; hence a trucker must have mechanisms for coping with the pressures that come with the job. Specific qualifications must also be met to become a fully-fledged trucker ready to take on the roads.
1. Acquire a Commercial Driver’s License
A CDL is a must-have whether a trucker delivers goods within or across multiple states. However, before obtaining a CDL, you must be at least twenty-one years old and possess a regular driver’s license. You must also obtain a commercial learner’s permit before being issued with a CDL. Learners above eighteen but below 21 can get a CLP and might work in some but not all instances. A high school diploma is a requirement for some driving schools and employers. An alternative to a high school diploma is the General Educational Development Test (GED), which can be obtained relatively quickly and is acceptable in almost every institution.
2. Professional Training
Quite a good number of institutions offer trucking classes that qualify you to take the CDL examination. These institutions include trucking companies, community colleges, and private driving schools. It is essential to ensure that the institution you are enrolling in is accredited by your state. The cost of these programs varies and may last up to a year. Some of these institutions go ahead to offer a degree in truck driving which is awesome if you want to be a holder of a college degree. A lot goes into truck driving education, including the key components of a truck and identifying what best suits your commercial vehicle, such as a CAT3306 Engine for sale. Programs sponsored by companies last for a very short period, typically a month to a month and a half, and students who choose to work with such companies receive reimbursement for training fees after working for a specific period.
Other than your commercial driving license, other endorsements are necessary to kick start a successful career in trucking. However, before embarking on the endorsements, it is important to realize that a CDL has classifications. These classifications are the A, B, and C classes, with class A highest for truckers who ferry large freight. Endorsement codes are necessary to have on your license and demonstrate that, other than being legally qualified to carry on the transportation business, you can be trusted with specialty vehicles such as tankers or school buses. There are fees for obtaining your CDL and the various endorsements. Each state has different fees, with the most expensive being the license fee which may cost up to 120 dollars.
4. Seek Necessary Assistance when Looking for a Job
After all the requirements have been met, skills learned must be practiced. While a training company may choose to retain a learner who is done with their training, most learners need assistance obtaining work elsewhere. Truck driving schools and community colleges may offer career counseling and job boards, which greatly benefit trainees. An alternative would be joining a truck driving association such as Women in Trucking, which connects members to mentors and potential employers.
5. Passing an Employer’s Finishing Program
While one may have all the necessary certification, endorsements, and a clean, valid CDL, some employers require one to take on an in-house training program. During these programs, which last about a month, a trucker is introduced to vehicles and equipment. In addition to this, supervised driving is characteristic of these programs.
Trucking is a wonderful career that can last a lifetime and will always ensure that one leads a comfortable life. However, knowing what is required before embarking on the career path and knowing what the job entails is essential. While popular belief is that truckers have a lot of freedom and alone time on the road, communicating with stakeholders such as customers, dispatchers and management are vital.