How to Become a Truck Driver

Truck driving jobs are usually associated with reasonable, steady pay and long, hard hours. Truck drivers are responsible for transporting important, and often, expensive cargo. Without truck drivers, trade wouldn't exist as it does today. Being a truck driver is a great career choice for many men and women across the United States. Here's how to become a truck driver:

  1. Know what you're getting into The life of a trucker isn't an easy one, and it's certainly not for everyone. Long hours and a lot of time away from home can strain personal relationships. Research what it's like to be a truck driver via the web or by asking people you know. Discuss what you've learned about the possibilities with your family before you jump into trucking headfirst [source: Life as a Trucker].
  2. General requirements for truck drivers You must hold a commercial driver's license (CDL) to drive any vehicle over 26,000 pounds, carrying hazardous materials or oversized loads. You must be over 21 years of age to drive a truck over state lines. You won't be able to get a CDL if you don't have a clean driving record. In addition, to qualify for a CDL you need to pass a written test and a physical examination. You need to have good hearing, eyesight, normal use of your arms and legs, and normal blood pressure. Employers are required to check their drivers for drug and alcohol use. Having a criminal record may be a problem for some, but not all, employers [source: BLS].
  3. Take a driver training course Most prospective drivers get formal training to prepare for the CDL test [source: BLS]. The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) certifies truck driver training schools and programs all across the country. They ensure that you learn how to operate large trucks properly and that you know all the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations required for licensing [source: PTDI].