So You Want to Be a Truck Driver?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers earned a median pay of $42,480 per year in 2017. Currently, the US depends greatly on truckers given that over three-quarters of the economy relies on the trucking industry to deliver goods.

But even with the 3.5 million drivers in the country, in 2017, there was a reported shortage of about 50,000. The demand will only rise as the industry anticipates a five percent growth through 2024. Other estimates, including one from the American Trucking Association, state that the industry will require almost a million drivers through 2025, providing a wide range of opportunities that provide job security. If you’re interested, here’s what you should know.

Background

The job requires a set of specific skills and a desire to travel constantly, but nevertheless, if you have a high school diploma and attend professional driving school, you can become a trucker. The end results will be a commercial driver’s license (CDL) that provides a ticket to the open road. A CDL license also creates a wide range of opportunities where holders can work with different types of heavy trucks and machinery, including tractor trailers or a variety of rigs. Each of these requires upkeeping, so individuals in the industry should learn the basics of simple repairs and maintenance, and keep a trusted undercarriage parts dealer or retailer to ensure that their vehicles are always in pristine and operable condition.

You should focus on keeping a clean driving record that includes a lack of moving violations or DUI infractions. Companies rely on insurance, and hiring high-risk drivers will increase such costs. Additionally, a truck accident lawyer in California should be in your list of contacts in the event that you require representation for an accident or need to consult someone on similar issues. Nonetheless, the sector of the economy is one full of opportunity, where individuals can join as employees or start their own businesses by purchasing a truck and looking for hauls independently.

Challenges and benefits

One of the major challenges of trucking is the amount of time away from home. This can be daunting and lonely. Furthermore, because much of the work involves time-sensitive deliveries, truckers are often in a rush. This leads to poor eating habits that usually involve quick and unhealthy fast-food options, creating possible health problems. People working in the industry are more likely to become obese and develop diabetes than those in other jobs. Also, much of the movement will be during odd hours where traffic is lighter, and road conditions are optimal. Drivers must always be focused, and mistakes can be deadly, thus leading to a lot of pressure.

Personally and financially, however, driving trucks can be rewarding and exciting. Many will join the industry in their fifties as a needed change from the ordinary 9-to-5 work schedule or a change in life that brings excitement. Truckers can cover the entirety of the continental United States. How many people can say that they’ve traveled to every major city in the country? Being on the road will provide the ability to travel and visit places otherwise unimaginable. Additionally, contract drivers also get to set up their own schedules. Once experience is achieved, veterans at the job can earn around $80,000 per year. Those working for a good company can obtain health coverage, disability insurance, paid time off, and access to a 401K. Once you decide, look for reputable schools and begin the task of studying to chase the dream of being on the road.