Becoming a Trucker: A Beginners Guide
Here at Texas Elite Logistics, we rely on our skilled and experienced truckers to conduct our everyday business. Have you ever thought about becoming a trucker? Do you know how to get there? Read on to find out what qualifications truckers need, what regulations are out there, and how to accomplish these qualifications and regulations to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
In order to legally operate a commercial motor vehicle, you must be at least 21-years-old.
Pass Your State’s Driver’s License Test
Before looking to earn your CDL, you must have your graduated driver’s license. The age to earn this varies by state, but most states allow you to test for your graduated driver’s license once you turn 16-years-old. This test involves a written and skills test.
Graduate High School or GED
In many instances, it is necessary to have graduated from high school or obtained your General Education Development (GED) before obtaining your CDL. While not all employers expect this of their drivers, most do. You can check with professional training locations and/or prospective future employers near you to decide which route is right for you.
Before you can sit to take your CDL, you have to partake in some training that will qualify you to take the CDL. You can get the necessary professional training through a variety of platforms. Some community colleges, private truck driving schools, and trucking companies offer these training programs needed to qualify you to take the CDL test. It is important to note that some states have different processes of accrediting programs and auditing them, so check your state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regulations to ensure you take training that meets your state’s requirements. These programs may be as long as a year and range in cost ($1,000 to $10,000) depending on where you are getting it from. There may be perks to getting your professional training done with a trucking company compared to a private trucking school or community college as the training can be quicker (four to six weeks). While the cost of going through a trucking company is about middle range ($9,000), many truck driving companies offer other benefits such as discounts, financing options, and even full reimbursement if you stay with the company for a certain amount of time after graduating.
After you have done the required professional training, the next step in the process is earning your CDL. In order to earn your CDL, you must pass a written test and a skills test. There are different classifications of CDLS such as A, B, and C. Which classifications you will need depends on your vehicle’s weight and size. The CDL-A is often a great choice as it covers many vehicles that carry large freight.
Certain endorsements may be needed depending on the job you are hoping to land. Endorsements designate what you are legally qualified and allowed to transport. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a complete list of different classes and endorsement codes that are available. Endorsements codes include double/triple trailers, passenger, tank vehicle, hazardous materials, and more!
Find a Job
Now that you have been properly educated and have put in your required hours of training, it is time to find a job. Many truck driving schools can assist with this process. If you go through a truck driving company to get your professional training done, they may look to keep you with their company and hire you on as a driver after completing your program.
Complete In-House Training
You aren’t ready to go just yet! A majority of truck driving companies require new CDL licenses to go through an in-house training program. These are often referred to as driver finishing programs and will introduce you to the vehicles, materials, and equipment you will be using at your company. This finishing program can be 3-4 weeks long and includes some periods of supervised driving.
The Driver’s Seat is Yours
You’re all set! Once you have the proper licenses, education, and training, you can officially begin your career as a truck driver. One benefit of truck driving has to do with the qualifications and regulations necessary to do the job. While there is necessary training, time, and money involved, it is relatively low cost compared to a traditional college degree. The time from starting your program to being in your career is also a lot shorter than many working professionals experience. Truck driving can be a very rewarding career. Contact us today with questions about becoming a trucker for Texas Elite Logistics or apply to be a trucker with us today.