Truck drivers haul food, automobiles, and other goods around the nation, making them an essential part of the supply chain. There are many options for training to become a truck driver, says truck training Edmonton North including programs at community colleges, private driving schools, and transportation companies. Companies usually pay trucking professionals by the mile. You can begin working at age 21 with a high school diploma or equivalent and a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Becoming a truck driver can take a few weeks or a few months, and your training won’t just include the road rules. You’ll also learn about how to inspect your vehicle for safety, how to plan and manage long trips, and how to secure freight.
While you’re often driving on your own, you also need customer service skills to do your job effectively. The work involves communicating with your dispatcher and with the customers who receive shipments.
Truck drivers work long shifts, up to 14 hours. According to the truck training Edmonton North truck drivers reported working more than 40 hours a week. The majority also said they were frequently exposed to the elements and worked on strict deadlines.
Steps to Becoming a Truck Driver
Before considering the steps to becoming a truck driver, know that there is an age requirement. To legally operate commercial motor vehicles, you must be at least 21 years old.
However, you can obtain a learner’s permit as early as age 18, and some federally run pilot programs and military programs allow younger drivers to work.
Pass Your State’s Regular Driver’s License Exam
You must have a current driver’s license in your state before earning a CDL. With a regular driver’s license, you may even be able to start your career driving delivery trucks while studying for your CDL.
Start Professional Training
Community colleges, private truck driving schools, and trucking companies host truck driver training programs that qualify you to take the CDL exam. Some states have their process of auditing and accrediting programs, so make sure you know your state’s regulations.
Earn Your CDL and Other Relevant Endorsements
At a minimum, you need to have a CDL. CDLs come with different classifications (A, B, and C), depending on the size and weight of your vehicle. The CDL-A is the most versatile for drivers of large freight.
You also may need an endorsement code on your license. Endorsements indicate what you can legally transport and are essential for specialty vehicles like school buses and tankers.
Find Job Placement Assistance
Some truck driving schools offer job boards and career counseling. Truck-driving associations also help members connect with employers, and career mentors, says truck training Edmonton North.
Complete Your Employer’s Finishing Program
Most companies require newly licensed employees to complete an in-house training program. These training sessions, often called driver finishing programs, introduce you to the vehicles, materials, and equipment relevant to the company. The program itself may last three to four weeks and involve a period of supervised driving.
So, if you want to become a truck driver, follow the steps mentioned above. Being a truck driver can be an exciting and rewarding career move.