How to Become a CDL Truck Driver
If you want to get a job as a CDL truck driver, you need to know what to expect. For instance, you can do your research with regard to how much truck drivers earn.
In general, the salary depends on the type of work, the company, the level of experience of the driver. On average, new truck drivers earn about $30,000 per year. As they gain more experience, they also earn a higher amount.
After five years of truck driving, their salaries can increase to $55,000 per year. Aside from the pay increase, their chances of being retained by the company improve as well.
Moreover, there are trucking jobs that tend to pay better than others. So, if you want to make more money, you can work with gas transport, toxic chemicals, and other dangerous materials.
Don’t forget to assess the pros and cons of this kind of work. Find out everything about it before you make a decision. This way, you can be fully informed and avoid having any regrets later on.
Of course, you need to get the necessary education and license. Fortunately, trucking jobs generally require less schooling than many other jobs. They also start with a good salary and benefits packages.
It is also easy to get a trucking job if you graduate from a reputable school. However, if you cannot afford a private CDL school, you can opt for paid CDL training instead. It is a great alternative to expensive truck driving training schools.
You can get a CDL license by going to a huge carrier and telling them that you want to have a career in trucking. Huge carriers usually offer CDL training programs. They even pay their trainees.
Hence, you can gain a lot of benefits from this option. You can save money on training and even get to earn some cash as you learn. You will be taught how to drive big rigs. Once you pass the training, you can become a certified CDL truck driver.
Then again, you should keep in mind that not all truck driving schools operate this way. Some companies deduct the training fee from the monthly pay of the driver. Others reimburse the training fee if the driver stays with them for a longer time.
You have to watch out for this. If you really want to get free training, you should ask the company beforehand. Make sure that you clarify everything so that you can avoid having issues.
You may also want to talk to other truck drivers to find out about their experiences. They may give you tips on how to drive quickly and safely as well as which shortcuts they can take.
They may also give you recommendations and referrals. You can use these to gain connections at work. You may also be able to find and transfer to a company that offers a higher salary or better benefits packages.
The Drawbacks of CDL Truck Driver
Being a CDL truck driver is great, but it also has its share of downsides. For instance, it requires at least twelve hours of driving per day. As a driver, you have to meet deadlines, so you have to drive fast.
However, you should also be careful as you drive. Be careful not to violate any road rules and always watch where you are heading. This is especially true if the weather is bad and you are carrying hazardous substances or materials.
You can put your safety at risk if you are not careful with your driving. Likewise, you can put the safety of other drivers as well as bystanders at risk. You must be alert at all times.
You can expect long periods of time away from home. If you are single and do not mind being on the road for weeks or even months at a time, then you may not really consider this a huge disadvantage. On the other hand, if you are married and have children, this can be a problem, especially if your family needs you to be with them physically most of the time.
Stress and lack of sleep are also common problems among truck drivers. The DOT regulations and HOS or Hours of Service can challenge your circadian rhythm.
Since you are driving across the country, you have to adjust to the different time zones. You have to force yourself to rest and sleep when there is time, even though you are not tired because you will need to continue working at the given schedule.
The stress caused by delays, deadlines, bad directions, heavy traffic, lazy shippers, bad weather, not enough parking areas, and other factors can take a toll on your health. Hence, you need to make sure that you take good care of yourself.
Also, even though you are away from home and you cannot always prepare a nutritious meal, you should refrain from eating foods that are not good for your health.
When you have no other choice but to eat fast food or buy something from the convenience store, you should at least choose the least unhealthy food option. Whenever you get the chance to eat something fresh and nutritious, you should not waste your opportunity to do so.
Making money is essential. However, your health and safety are much more important. If you choose money over health and safety, you will have a bigger problem later. Soon, you will realize that no amount of money can bring back your health or a life that has been lost due to reckless driving.
Indeed, a truck driving career can be rewarding. You can enjoy plenty of benefits from your job. You can earn a lot of money, go to different places, and gain new experiences. Then again, you should not forget to assess the possible disadvantages of this kind of work.
Nevertheless, if this is really your dream job, you should not be afraid to take risks and see if it works for you. If you do not mind being away from home and being on the road most of the day, you can get a job as a CDL truck driver.