The average trucker’s salary in 2019 was $44,500, which is quite decent considering that truckers do not need formal schooling. In most formal training schools, they will make you believe you need formal training. However, it is not a requirement.
Generally, you need three things to kick start your career as a trucker.
A commercial driver’s license
Earn necessary endorsements
A pass in road skills tests
What you need to know about Commercial driver’s license
There are generally three classes of CDL licenses—Class A, Class B, and Class C. These classes correspond to vehicle types depending on cargo type. Flatbeds, takers, and track-trailers fall under Class A. Reefer, and dry van delivery trucks, garbage and dump trucks, demolition trucks, and tow trucks fall under class B. Class C mostly includes HAZMAT (hazardous material) trucks and other combination vehicles.
When it comes to earning potential, a class A license has the highest earning potential on average because it includes long haul trucks and trailers. However, it is also the most challenging because you may need to sleep away from your home and work long hours and days.
Generally, you should be 18 years to get a CDL. To practice outside your state, you must be at least 21 years. Local DMVs have statewide requirements. You must comply with those local requirements, which may include a vision check, criminal record, age, medical check, proof of residency, and a knowledge exam.
What you need to know about truck driving endorsements
If you want to drive special commercial vehicles such as hazmat and tankers, you will need endorsements. Endorsements mean that you are permitted to drive such a particular vehicle. If you want to drive a truck that has air brakes, you will need an L endorsement. Common endorsements include HAZMAT, passenger, truck, double and triple trailer, and school bus.
What you need to know about restrictions
When you earn a CDL, you will get a basic package. It is your responsibility to remove the restrictions if you want to drive a vehicle in a restricted category. Some of the restrictions include an L-full-air brake system, E-manual transmission, and V-medical variance. You can remove the restrictions by getting endorsements.
What you need to know about driving skill tests
The road test generally ensures that you are prepared for the vagaries of the road. You will be tested for concentration, coordination, and general control of the vehicle under different circumstances. You will be tested on how you handle turns, intersections, road signs, lane switching, traffic, and steering.
The trick to passing a test is to practice well in advance. Do not go green to the test. Also, it is good to have a good night’s sleep the day before the test. You want to be completely relaxed. You can prepare for the test using various online tools. Some are free, while others are paid.
Once you have these requirements, you are ready to start your trucker career. The idea is to work with a company that helps you grow by offering continuous training and improvement opportunities. At NVA, we are committed to continuous learning to ensure that our truckers are updated with the latest trends.