For those who are considering becoming a commercial or CDL truck driver, this post will help guide you in choosing the right CDL training and truck driving schools.
Trucking is a multi-billion-dollar industry. In fact, the trucking industry is one of the biggest employers in the US alone. More than 5 percent of working Americans are employed either as a truck driver or commercial driver. More than 40 percent of these jobs are held by minorities.
The Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is what every trucker needs to drive large, heavy freight trucks and be employed by the industry. It is issued and regulated by the Department of Transportation (DoT). There are different endorsements or classes of CDL that you can apply for.
The minimum age requirement for issuing intra-state CDL is 18 years, while inter-state CDL’s is 21 years.
To earn a CDL, you must first undergo CDL training with any one of the licensed or accredited truck driving schools. During training, drivers learn about everything they need to know about the industry and the rules and regulations that govern it.
If you want to become part of this industry as a commercial truck driver, there are several things you need to consider first before jumping into any CDL training:
Your driving record or history should be clean. That means zero records of speeding over limits, careless driving, license suspensions, and road accidents. If you fail to keep a clean record for at least three years, trucking companies and employers won’t hire you. Not even if you complete and fully pay for your CDL training.
Having a criminal record will also discourage employers from hiring or even considering you. Criminal records reflect your kind of civil behavior and attitude. If you have been charged with theft or burglary before, employers may not trust you in transporting their valuable goods. If you have been charged with any form of violent crime, employers will not trust how you will behave on the road.
If you have a record of any DUI (driving under influence) and or failed any drug test, employers will automatically cross you out from their lists. This is because such representation of poor lifestyle choices will affect the way you deliver at work. Employers won’t be able to trust you because such choices can bring harm to people’s lives and their companies’ images.
Another important factor to consider is your medical record. A CDL truck driver must be physically fit. Trucking is a backbreaking job and anyone who has special medical conditions won’t be able to survive its daily toll on the human body. If you have any medical condition that might discourage employers from hiring you. Never try to conceal it just because you need the job. You need to be truthful and transparent about your condition.
Another thing that many employers consider when hiring truckers is their employment history. Your previous employments will reflect on how you commit yourself to your job. It also tells how you respect your employers by honoring their employment contract. If you have any negative employment record or have never held a job for more than 6 months, it may well reflect poor commitment and unprofessionalism.
CDL training is usually provided by truck driving schools. There are three types of schools where you can get your training:
These schools provide CDL training programs that may vary in length and scope. There are some schools that offer only a week-long training and some may take you months to complete.
However, you should know that a shorter training course doesn’t equate to a faster track to a CDL trucking career. CDL training should be taken for at least a few weeks to gain some mastery in driving a certain vehicle. In fact, the longer and more frequent you practice driving during training, the better are your chances to qualify for CDL and job opportunities.
Being a truck driver and becoming a CDL trucker driver are different things. As a CDL truck driver, you have responsibilities that you should meet at all times. Anything reckless, no matter how small it is, can end your career in an instant.
CDL training is a requirement before CDL can be issued to any truck driver. It serves as an extension of the qualification process of CDL that only the strong-willed and strong-minded can pursue and pull off.
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