How to Become a CDL Driver?
Steps to Become a Truck DriverA truck driver transports goods via a heavy-duty truck or tractor-trailer. Successful truck drivers are committed to safety on the road and have excellent communication skills. In this article, we cover the steps you should take to become a truck driver.
Enroll in a truck driving program or school.
Before you can get behind the wheel of a truck, you need training. Truck driver training programs are usually offered through trucking companies, whereas truck driving schools are often offered at community colleges. The program will house you while you study for licensure and allow you to practice driving trucks. Certain programs might also include guaranteed job offers upon completion of the program.
What type of degree should you pursue to become a Truck Driver?
54% of people working as a Truck Driver earned a GED / High School Degree
What skills do you need to be a Truck Driver?
- CDL Hazmat
- Load Unload
- Dedicated CDL
- Air Induction
- English Language
- Strong WORK Ethic
- Drop and Hook
- Box Truck
Earn your commercial driver's license.
The first step to becoming a truck driver is to obtain your commercial driver's license (CDL). This license is required for all tractor-trailer driving jobs. Before you can obtain the license, however, you must fulfill certain requirements, including the following:
- Must be at least 21 years of age.
- Must have a commercial learner's permit (CLP) for at least 14 days. To obtain this, you must have a current driver's license, pass a test covering the basic skills regarding trucking, and pay a fee.
- Must pass a road skills test.
On average, it takes about seven weeks to complete a Class A program if you're enrolled in a full-time program that runs five days a week and about one week for a Class B program. Class A applies to a greater variety of trucks that can transport larger loads. The Class B designation is for truckers who want to drive straight trucks, dump trucks, and trucks that carry smaller loads.
Pass the Department of Transportation physical.
This federally mandated Department of Transportation (DOT) physical requires a medical examiner to examine your health before you can become a truck driver. You need to bring your medical records, a list of health conditions and medications you take, and your glasses, contact lenses, and hearing aids if needed. You will be asked to fill out forms regarding your health, and the physician will examine you.
Hone your communication skills.
When you work as a truck driver, you might think it's an isolating career, but that's not the case entirely. You must communicate and manage the people you work closely with to make for a smooth transition. One of the most important people you need to coordinate with is the dispatcher, who can help you deliver the load in a timely fashion. You also need to know how to communicate with customers so they don't leave you waiting to unload at the dock.
Complete an in-house training program.
Many companies require new employees to complete an in-house training program so they can learn the ins and outs of the company. These driver finishing programs introduce you to the vehicles, equipment, and materials relevant to the company. The entire program might last several weeks to a month, and it might involve a period of supervised driving.
CDL Driver Career Path
Truck Driver III
Truck Driver IV
Total Pay Trajectory
CDL Driver Career Path
Related Careers in the Transportation Industry
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