Get behind the wheel as a truck driver!

Last updated: July 20, 2024
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Ashley Wilson
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Content Manager at Jobcase
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Get behind the wheel as a truck driver!
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If you enjoy driving, the open road, and time alone, truck driving may be the job you're looking for.

Truck driver jobs are high-paying, and you can certify for them quite quickly.

Because of the long distances alone, most people don’t want this job. However, if you enjoy driving long distances, your own company, and have good physical strength, becoming a truck driver could be for you.

Let’s dive into truck driver job responsibilities, what skills you need, and how much you can expect to earn as a truck driver.

What is a truck driver?

A truck driver is a person who drives trucks and cube vans to transport goods and materials from one place to another.

Depending on what you transport and which company you work for, you may drive short local routes or make longer drives across the country. In some cases, you may even cross the border into Canada or Mexico during your trips.

There are three types of truck drivers:

  • Local pick-up and delivery drivers pick up and deliver packages in a local area in a smaller truck

  • Short-haul drivers make trips that are within no longer than a half day’s drive and come back home after their shift

  • Long-haul drivers make long international routes — sometimes coast to coast or across North America

If you’re a long-haul driver, your truck will often have a bed in it so that you can rest anywhere you need to. Some semi-trucks even have showers and a small toilet area.

What are truck driver duties and responsibilities?

Truck drivers are responsible for their cargo, but their responsibilities vary depending on where they’re going and what they’re delivering.

These responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Driving the required distance to deliver goods

  • Loading and unloading cargo, or supervising the unloading if customers are in charge of doing so

  • Following all traffic laws during their routes

  • Keeping their vehicle clean and fueled

  • Keeping a detailed log of all driving activities and deliveries

  • Following accident procedures

  • Periodically inspecting the truck and reporting any issues to the maintenance personnel

  • Getting the cargo to the customers on time

What skills does a truck driver need?

To become a truck driver, you need to be an excellent driver. You also need to have good judgment and quick reflexes.

Because you’ll be driving for long periods, you also need to be able to remain focused for long.

Successful truck drivers enjoy working alone for long periods, but they also need to have interpersonal skills since they’ll meet with customers often. Plus, they need to have enough physical strength to load and unload cargo, and drive for up to 11 hours each day,

It’s also important to know the rules and regulations of the road.

Truck driver qualifications

There are several requirements needed to become a truck driver. First, you either need a high school diploma or a GED. You also need a Class A commercial driver’s license (often shortened to CDL).

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If you drive trucks smaller than a semi, you may only need a class C or B. You need a clean driving record, and you’ll often need to pass a drug and alcohol test before you get hired.

There are more qualifications that you may need depending on what type of cargo you carry, like HAZMAT and Tanker endorsements.

All US states require you to be at least 18 to get a CDL. However, if you drive cargo across state lines, you must be at least 21.

How many hours do truck drivers work?

Truck drivers also need to follow the regulations regarding the number of hours they can drive in a day.

We mentioned it before, but if truck drivers get 10 consecutive hours of time off-duty, they can drive a maximum of 11 hours after that. However, they can work 14 hours consecutively.

This means that they can do 11 hours of driving and three hours of other duties, like loading cargo.

Truck drivers also cannot drive after they’ve been on duty for 60/70 hours within 7/8 consecutive days. They need to take at least 34 consecutive hours off duty to drive again.

In 2020, some of these rules were changed to provide more flexibility. For example, truck drivers need to take 30-minute-breaks after eight consecutive hours of driving, instead of any type of on-duty time.

Truck driver salary and job outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers have a median annual wage of $47,130 per year, or $22.66 per hour. The lowest 10% of truck drivers earn less than $30,660, while the top 10% earn over $69,480.

Typically, heavy truck drivers get paid depending on how many miles they drive. They can also earn bonuses.

Currently, there’s a 2% growth rate for truck driver jobs, which is slower than the average industry growth.

However, there’s a 4% growth when you combine motor vehicle operators and truck drivers, which is as fast as average.

Truck driver jobs hiring right now

Think that driving trucks is the perfect job for you? You can find all sorts of truck driving jobs by looking on Jobcase.

For instance, you can look for local truck driving opportunities if you don’t want to go long distances. You can look for general trucking jobs, or you can even look for truck dispatching jobs if you don’t want to drive yourself.

Some jobs require past trucking experience, while others don’t. But you can filter for entry-level positions when you search on Jobcase so that you only see jobs for which you qualify.

Start making a living driving trucks

Not everyone enjoys spending time alone while driving. But if you’re one of these people, getting a truck driver job could be an amazing career choice.

Start your job search for a truck driver job now.


How does life on the open road sound to you?

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