Are you tired of spending your weekends on the sofa in front of Netflix? Do you want to see more of the country and meet new people? If so, becoming a truck driver might be the perfect way to kickstart a new career. With a little patience and training, anyone can become a professional truck driver.
Determine Your Eligibility
If you're ready to become a truck driver, there are specific requirements you'll need to meet. In order to start your application process, you'll need to:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a US citizen or have permanent resident status
- Have a valid driver's license
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent
- Any other state-specific requirements, which may include passing a background check
Clean Up Background Issues
You have to know that you’re going to have to pass a drug test, meet the age requirements and have a clean driving record. Maybe you’ve never been pulled over by the police before, but if your driver’s license is expired or if there are any other issues with it, this will prevent you from getting your CDL.
Some states will have background check requirements that could be a problem if you have a criminal history. This doesn't mean you are immediately disqualified, only that you may have an extra step to show you have moved on from this mistake and are ready for a full-time job commitment.
Find and Sign Up for a Quality Driving School
The first thing to do is to check out the school. Before you sign on for a truck driving school, make sure it's accredited by the state or local government where it's located. Ask about:
- Location, schedule, and cost
- Reputation among other drivers in your area
- Curriculum (including the number of hours)
- Instructors experience
The last thing you want is to be stuck paying for an expensive program that doesn't give you what you need. The best way to avoid this situation is by doing some research beforehand.
Complete a CDL Learner’s Permit Application
You'll need to apply for a CDL learner's permit. The application has a few different steps that you can take online, by fax, or by mail. You will also have to pay the application fee using either a credit or debit card.
Once your application is submitted and processed, you should receive your learner's permit in the mail within about four weeks. If you don't receive it within that time frame and are sure everything was processed correctly, contact the DMV office and report any problems with your application.
Take the CDL Series of Tests
The general knowledge exam is a multiple-choice test that tests your knowledge of the rules of the road, states and their capitals, parts of a tractor-trailer, and other topics. The test is designed to ensure you are familiar with essential road signs, safety procedures, and legal regulations.
If you pass this exam, chances are you will have no problem passing an actual CDL driving skills test at your local DMV. After this exam, you will be tested in driving skills, pre-trip inspections, and other more specific topics related to what you will be hauling. These could be hazardous materials or temperature-sensitive loads.
Getting a Truck Driving Job
Now that you’ve got your CDL and are ready to hit the road, it’s time to get a job. No matter what your background, taking the necessary steps to become a truck driver can be an exciting and rewarding career move. It's certainly not easy—you'll need to be patient, persistent, and dedicated—but with the right training and a willingness to learn, you can do it.
If you want to become a professional truck driver but aren't sure where or how to start, reach out to our professional team at Distance Trucking, Inc. We have years of experience finding the proper training for your desired career and will do our best to give you a leg up in a highly rewarding career maintaining the supply chains of North America!