Although you may hear about a “decline” of commercial drivers on the news, don’t be fooled. The industry is alive and well. Believe it or not, there are 3.5 million commercial drivers on the road in the US, making it one of the most common jobs in the country.
If you’re looking to get into this lucrative career, then you probably have some questions. Hopefully, we can answer them for you here!
Let’s talk about some important tips, benefits, and useful information about becoming a commercial driver in 2022.
1. Becoming a Commercial Driver Is Easier Than Ever
Currently, there are more training programs than ever before for aspiring commercial drivers. Regardless of what type of commercial vehicle you want to operate, your options are open.
Shop around for the right price, class schedule, and timeline that meet your needs. Once you’ve finished, finding a job won’t be too difficult either!
2. Jobs Are in High Demand
The ability to drive a commercial vehicle is one of the most sought-after skills in the country. Many workers have left the transportation business recently, which has left plenty of job openings.
Fortunately for you, many job openings mean you’ll have an easy job search, you may find incentives, and you can expect a secure job with a fair salary.
3. You Have Options
Long-haul and short-haul truck drivers are the most popular options for commercial drivers. Do you want to be home at the end of each day or do you want to see the world and receive a high salary?
Well, long-haul truck drivers tend to get paid per mile. For that reason, a single trip from Boston to Seattle at 40 cents per mile would yield $1,200 each way. If you spend a week on the trip, you’ve earned $2,400 in one week!
Fortunately, some long-haul trucking jobs pay more than 45 cents per mile, and some even pay by the hour. Shop around to see your options.
However, many people prefer to see their families at the end of each day. In that case, you will likely either receive a salary or hourly pay. The average short-haul driver earns just over $75,000 a year.
4. Some Training Can Be Done Online
When learning how to drive a commercial vehicle, there is a lot of theory involved along with the practical application. If you prefer to work on your own time or if you currently have a busy work schedule, then you can enter a program that teaches this part online.
From there, you will only need to work on the practical applications and examinations in person, which can free up your schedule while obtaining your license.
5. You May Not Be Eligible
Depending on your education level, driving experience, and your criminal and motor vehicle record, you may not qualify for a CDL.
First, you need a high school diploma and you need to be at least 18 years of age (21 for interstate drivers). To land a job, you will also need the right to work in the US.
Next, you will need to have at least one to two years of driving experience with a Class D or similar license, depending on your state.
Finally, you will need a clean record. If you have a DUI, this will automatically disqualify you for a CDL. Also, keep in mind, once you have a CDL, the legal limit for BAC is .06 instead of the usual .08.
Also, if you have too many speeding tickets, traffic violations, warrants, or a criminal record, then you may not be eligible to become a truck driver in the US.
6. There Is a Lot of Sitting
Now, we know this sounds obvious, but it’s important to note. There are serious health effects of sitting for long periods.
If you’re concerned about your health, you will need to make an effort to exercise and move on your own time to try to combat the effects of sitting. If you are uncomfortable in a cramped space for long periods, then this may not be the job for you.
7. Get Familiar With the Unfamiliar
Especially for long-haul drivers, it’s unlikely you will have the same route every time. For many drivers, this is the best part of the job, as they love seeing new places on their routes and exploring the continent.
However, this isn’t for everyone. If you are anxious about unfamiliar settings, then this job will either help you overcome that or cause stress for you.
8. The Money Gets Spent
While salaries are often high among long-haul truckers, you do have to keep in mind the amount you may spend on the road.
Very few truckers take the time to find a grocery store and purchase cheap and healthy food, which may lead to overspending on the job. However, you can prevent that with a little diligence.
9. You Need to Protect Yourself
When you drive any vehicle, you’re driving a weapon. Well, that’s even more true in a commercial vehicle.
The last thing you want is to be held liable in an accident, lose your job, or harm another person due to a preventable incident.
For this reason, driving safety should be your top priority. Taking the time to really learn the craft, rather than just “getting certified” is critical, and with these tips, you can protect both yourself and those around you on the road throughout your career.
Start Your Engines
Now that you know some of the most important parts of becoming a commercial driver, there’s no time like the present to get started. The sooner you do, the sooner you can launch your new, lucrative career.
Start today, get some experience behind the wheel, play it safe, and keep following our blog for our latest tips!