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Truck drivers keep America running — quite literally. Trucks are responsible for shipping more than 70 percent of the nation’s products, and you’ll see trucks and their drivers on every highway in America.
If you were interested in becoming a truck driver, where do you start? Follow these four steps to get started.
Graduate High School
The first step is to graduate high school. Most truck driving programs and CDL certifications require you to have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, so make sure you graduate high school.Continue Your Education
Once you get your diploma or GED, the next step is to go right back to school. To become a truck driver, you will need to obtain a commercial driver’s license. A truck driving school will teach you how to handle a heavy truck and teach you all the skills you need to get a commercial driver’s license.
Truck driving school is another form of college, so if you can’t pay for schooling out-of-pocket, you may qualify for Pell Grants, student loans or other types of financial aid.
Get a Job
Once you’ve obtained your CDL, your next step is to get a job. You can go about this in a few ways, including:
- Job Placement Services: Many colleges offer job placement after you graduate to help you break out into a new career. If your CDL school offers it, take advantage of the services. It might make finding that first job as a truck driver a little bit simpler.
- Online Searches: Many companies looking for new truck drivers will post their jobs on sites like Monster or LinkedIn. In fact, most businesses are transitioning to only accepting applications or resumes online.
- Go Straight to the Source: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is go straight to the source. Many trucking companies will post internal job opportunities on their website, which can be a great place to find opportunities not listed elsewhere. Many companies only list their job opportunities internally because listing on sites like Monster costs money.
Ride It Out
Once you’ve landed your first job as a truck driver, you’re in for a wild ride. For most truckers, their first year is the hardest. If you’re planning a career as a truck driver, do everything you can to survive that first year. Most of it will involve getting experience as a driver, learning your routes and becoming used to being behind the wheel.
Chances are, you’re going to get a lot of less-than-ideal routes during your first year of truck driving. Just stick it out and remember that while your first year is probably going to be your worst, it’s a necessary step toward a successful and lucrative career in truck driving. Truckers keep this country going. If you can get in on the ground floor, you’re in for a long, successful career.