There will always be demand for transporting goods from place to place. The trucking industry keeps on working! The job outlook for truck drivers remains constant, and the median salary of $56,000 is consistent across all types of trucking jobs. Is there one that’s right for you? Let’s take a look.
Be sure to check our Truckers USA group here on Jobcase to hear stories, ask questions, and discuss anything and everything related to a career behind the wheel.
This is what most people think of when they think of trucking jobs. “Over the road,” or OTR, jobs are state-to-state jobs that have drivers on the road for several days at a time.
Most of these drivers work for companies that either contract hauling services, or have their own trucking fleet, like large retailers. You see these drivers on the interstate, in their tall cabs carrying long trailers. So what’s the job like?
OTR drivers work long hours, but have to abide by strict rules to keep them safe.
In addition to driving duties, truck drivers also:
Owner-operators do the same work as OTR drivers, but the difference is that they lease or own their own rigs, and obtain their own clients. In addition to driving tasks, they do their own administrative work as well.
Many owner-operators make their living by specializing in the kind of loads they haul. Specialty equipment that’s in demand, especially in particular regions, isn’t profitable for large-scale trucking companies, so smaller operations can take advantage of that market.
While there are fewer of these jobs, regional drivers are still an important driver market. These are shorter-run jobs, usually for home moving or interstate hauling between retail stores. Drivers may be on the road for two to three days at a time.
Does hourly driving sound more like your thing? This type of job can satisfy both your wage and driving desires! dDelivery drivers typically work for a distributor and deliver product to retailers or directly to customers, and usually have a regular route or territory. Think furniture, food service accounts, office supplies, and bulk plants.
Delivery drivers can also expect to have more face-to-face customer interaction, so this is a good match if you like to meet and help people.
To become a truck driver, there are a few requirements.
If you want to drive a semi-truck, you’ll need to have special training. The requirements are different in each state, but expect to attend a course that lasts about four weeks, which should combine some classroom and hands-on training.
Depending on location and the quality of the school, truck driving courses range in cost from $3,000 to $7,000. The range in cost also depends on the type of certification you’re training for. It’s a good idea to research a few schools to ensure you’re getting the best training, and the best job placement opportunities for the investment. Stay away from schools that place new drivers in only a couple of trucking companies; look for schools with relationships with several reputable transportation companies. Also, some larger trucking companies will pay for your training, or reimburse some or all of your tuition if you commit to working for them for a time.
Note: If you’re seeking to be a delivery driver, you don’t need to attend truck driving school if you’ll be driving a van, and not a semi-truck.
Again, each state has its own requirements for getting a CDL, but you can expect to have to meet these at a minimum:
There may be reasons to be denied a CDL, like a DUI conviction, using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony, or a series of serious traffic offenses in a short amount of time. Check with your state’s licensing department before you invest in truck driving school to make sure you’re eligible to get a CDL.
If hitting the road and seeing the country sounds like how you’d like to spend your days – and get paid for it -- then a #truckdriving job just might be for you. Consider an investment in trucking school and get on the road!