Driver Career Path

Are you thinking of becoming a Driver or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Driver, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Driver job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

How To Become a Driver

Companies task drivers with transporting cargo or passengers. A successful driver has excellent time management skills, organizational skills, and navigational skills. Drivers who transport passengers should also have good interpersonal skills. Keep in mind that whether you decide to transport cargo or people, both situations will have you out on the road for long stretches of the day, which can be pretty stressful. However, if you can handle the stress, enjoy driving, and have a good driving record, you're ready to take the following steps.
Contents

1

Begin the driver licensing process.

If you choose a driving career that involves operating a large motor vehicle, you'll need to obtain a commercial driving license (CDL), which has three classes. With a CDL A license, you can legally operate a tractor-trailer, also referred to as a semi-truck or big rig. To operate a bus, box truck, or dump truck, you need a CDL B license. If you want to drive a passenger van or HAZMAT vehicle, you'll need a CDL C license.

Once you've figured out which type of CDL you need, you'll need to start studying for the licensing exam. While you can self-study for the CDL exam, most companies won't hire a driver who hasn't attended truck driving school or participated in a company-sponsored training program. Which program you choose depends on your budget.

Most experts recommend that you attend a driving school if you can afford it. If you participate in a company-sponsored training program, you might have to travel for your training, and you'll have to commit to working for that company. Attending a driving school gives you more flexibility in your career path. Make sure that whatever program you choose is authorized by the state you plan to work in.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Driver?

50% of people working as a Driver earned a GED / High School Degree

What skills do you need to be a Driver?

  • English Language
  • CDL Hazmat
  • Dedicated CDL
  • Drop and Hook
  • Excellent Customer Service
  • Box Truck
  • Load Unload
  • Excellent Communication
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Driver in the United States.

2

Apply for a commercial driver learner's permit.

As you complete your CDL training, you'll need to apply for a commercial learner's permit (CLP) so that you can practice driving a commercial vehicle under the supervision of an authorized CDL holder. Federal law requires you to possess a CLP for at least two weeks before you can take the exam for a commercial driver's license.

3

Take the commercial driver licensing exam.

After you complete your training program and you've had your CLP for the required amount of time, you can take the CDL exam. The test consists of a written exam and a practical road test. You have to score at least 80% to pass the written portion, which is multiple choice. When you take the road test, the examiner will evaluate how you maneuver the vehicle and handle stressful driving situations. If the examiner deducts more than 30 points from your score, you'll have to retake the test.

Once you pass the CDL exam and have your license, you can start searching for the driver job that's right for you.

Seniority Levels

L2

Driver

8+Years of Experience
$55,980 /yrTotal Pay
Learn More

L3

Senior Driver

2 - 4Years of Experience
$63,805 /yrTotal Pay
Learn More

L4

Driver IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$57,946 /yrTotal Pay
Learn More

Total Pay Trajectory

Driver Career Path

$80K
$73K
$65K
$58K
$50K
L2
L4
Seniority Levels

Related Careers in the Transportation Industry

Interested in other Transportation careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Driver skills. Discover some of the most common Driver career transitions, along with skills overlap.