What You Need to Know About Starting A Career As A Truck Driver
Truck driving can be an exciting and lucrative career. Being out on the open road gives you a chance to travel and see the country, all while earning a good living doing what you love.
Just like any other professional career, starting a career as a truck driver does require a relatively substantial upfront investment in training and education. However, the money that you spend getting your CDL can quickly be recouped within your first year on the job.
Before you do anything, you need to spend a few minutes thinking about whether a truck driving career is a good fit for your personality and interests. Trucking is often a solitary job where you spend the vast majority of your time alone. If you thrive on being around people, you may find that it is a bit too isolating. If, on the other hand, you like to spend time on your own, you will be hard-pressed to find another job that gives you the same level of personal freedom and time to yourself that trucking does.
Another important factor to consider is that truck driving typically requires you to be away from home for long periods of time. If you have a family or are thinking about starting one, this time away from home can be stressful on your personal relationships. Be sure to talk your decision over with your loved ones before jumping in and starting a career as a trucker.
Assuming that you are fine with the challenges that come along with trucking, your next step is to attend school to get your commercial drivers license. Depending on where you go to school, the cost could range anywhere from about $3,000 up to $6,000 or more to obtain this license. Classes typically last anywhere from a month to six weeks.
Although that may seem like a major investment both in terms of time and money, when you compare it to a typical college education, it is easy to see that it is far faster and less expensive to become a truck driver than to attend college. Interestingly, however, many truckers make as much, or more, money per year than people with a college education.
In fact, starting salaries for truckers range anywhere from $35,000 to $50,000 or more per year, depending on what company you work for. As you gain experience, your income can continue to increase. While you may never get ultra rich being a truck driver, you can definitely earn a comfortable living. This is particularly true when you consider that your monthly living costs on the road are relatively low, assuming, of course, that you buy groceries rather than eating out at restaurants for every meal.
Once you have your CDL, your next step is to start looking for a job. Most entry-level positions are highly competitive. Don’t be discouraged if it takes you a little while to find a good position. Be sure to consider the pay and benefits, what type of freight you will be hauling, and how much home time you will have. Also, if possible, try to talk to other drivers for the company to find out how well they like it. This can give you a glimpse into what each company is really like to work for.
Starting a career as a truck driver can be extremely exciting. Although it does require somewhat of a large upfront investment to get going, over time this investment will pay off as you are able to get paid to travel the country and live the life you have always wanted.