For people who enjoy driving long distances and would love a career that included exploring North America on the road, a job in truck driving would be a fulfilling career. It is a job that allows individuals to avoid a regular nine to five schedule, often spending long durations on the road, followed by time at home, while exploring the country through the extensive highway system.
What Do Truck Drivers Do?
Truck drivers transport a variety of goods all around the country. Some may find jobs that only require local transportation or regular routes, whereas others may have jobs that take them coast to coast and even up to Canada or down to Mexico. Truck drivers are responsible for knowing where trucks carrying the cargo weight are permitted to travel, fastest routes, local traffic laws, and basic care for their trucks. While on the road they inspect their shipments before and after leaving, report any difficulties encountered, and are usually responsible for choosing their own routes. When truck drivers are transporting dangerous loads of hazardous material, they must take special precautions.
How do you Become a Truck Driver
Truck drivers are required to have a commercial driver’s license. Like a standard driver’s license, a commercial driver’s license usually requires a written exam and a driving exam, although the exact qualifications may vary by state. While working as a truck driver, law mandates that individuals can be randomly tested for drugs or alcohol, and operating a vehicle under the influence can result in the suspension of the commercial driver’s license. Formal education is not typically required to become a truck driver, although most employers do like to see a minimum of a high school diploma. Some drivers will also take training courses to learn about the intricacies of operating a large, heavy vehicle in traffic or in crowded areas. There has also been some discussion about truck drivers being federally required to take truck driving courses to improve safety training.
Employers also like to see experience before becoming a truck driver, so many get their start by driving delivery trucks or similar vehicles. This helps to educate the driver about operating a commercial vehicle, professional driving, and making delivery deadlines.
How Much do Truck Drivers Make?
Truck drivers are typically paid by the mile that they drive, although various companies may also include bonuses based on what was transported, distance, or overtime. On average, however, truck drivers will earn about $37,770 per year. The hours that they are allowed to work, as well as required rest, are all regulated by federal law, although truck drivers do often work nights, weekends, and holidays.
What are Some Similar Jobs?
There are a number of occupations that offer similar responsibilities or skills as truck drivers. For example, some interested in this line of work may prefer to become a train conductor or yard master. This position also does not require more than a high school diploma, although higher education is a bonus, but has a great deal of on the job training. Those who work with trains in this capacity may work with passenger or cargo trains, coordinating activity in the train yard or on board the train, and typically make about $49,770 per year.
Train engineers and operators are also often trained on the job through company training programs, and actually drive the trains. They will typically earn about $46,100 per year.
Bus drivers drive people to and from a variety of locations. They may work for school districts, cities, or for bus companies that bring people state to state. They have similar education requirements to railroad conductors, and typically earn about $29,160 per year. Finally, there are also delivery truck drivers, who have similar responsibilities for transporting goods to a particular location at a particular time, the difference being that these drivers operate in a single region. Most training is done on the job, and employees will earn about $27,050 per year.
There are a number of occupations available for those who enjoy traveling and do not like traditional schedules or work environments. Truck drivers have the opportunity to explore while they work in a valuable occupation that helps keep the American economy running.