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Step-by-step Guide to Qualifying as a Truck Driver

Truck drivers play a big role in the economy by safely transporting goods from point to point. What they go through before qualifying as one isn’t as easy as we know it.

If we think about it, there are several key persons in the supply chain we do not give enough credit to. One of them is truck drivers who drive day and night across miles just to deliver goods to warehouses on time. On top of that, they have to ensure that goods stay in their best conditions and drive with utmost caution in consideration of the smaller vehicles on the road.

It’s undeniable that truck driving is a high-liability job. It only makes sense that logistics and flatbed trucking companies hire properly trained drivers who know how to operate and maintain their flatbed trucks. That said, you can’t just be hired to become a truck driver.

If you think being a truck driver is suitable for you for reasons, including currently not being able to go to college, you should know that you have to undergo a rigorous training process before scouting job postings. It is not going to be an easy ride, but all the practical learning will make the path more worth taking. Are you in for the rundown of things you need to comply with?

Age and Driving Experience

You have to be at least 21 years old and have 10 years of driving experience to drive a truck. You have to provide certified proof for both. To certify your driving experience, you must also be able to provide documentation of violation tickets and any vehicular accidents incurred under your record. These documents are usually easily accessible from the office of your city’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

You also have to at least be a high school graduate. If not, you should have earned a general educational development (GED) certificate from an authorized testing center. 

Truck Driving Training

Apart from having a non-commercial license, you will also be required to earn a commercial driving license (CDL), for which you have to pass an exam. To increase your chances of passing in one try, you can enroll in a truck driving course offered by either a driving school or in-house by your employer. Depending on the training facility, your course could take as long as a year to complete and could cost somewhere between a thousand to ten thousand dollars.

Such a course usually consists of theory mastery, during which you will be taught about standard procedures before, during, and after getting behind the truck’s wheel. Specific instructions will be given for operating a trucking rig. You will also be taught statutory and federal truck driving and franchising regulations.

The succeeding portion of the course is hands-on training. During this, you will be allowed to put your learning into practice behind the wheel with your instructor by your side to guide you. In the process, your instruction will also gauge how well you understand basic concepts, including truck inspection, space management, speed regulation, and gear shifts.

 To make better use of your available time, supplement your practical knowledge by working part-time as a delivery truck driver. You could use the experience later in case an employer requires employee references. This also raises your chances of getting paid higher.

Earning a Commercial Driving License

After your training, you can now take the written examination. The exam consists of a road, vehicle inspection, and backing tests, all of which you need to obtain a passing rate. During which, you may be required to perform the following maneuvers:

  • Parking (offset back, straight, parallel, etc.)
  • Docking
  • Lane change
  • Reversing
  • Gear shifting
  • Crossing railroads

Even after presenting a CDL certificate, your employer may require you to attend supplementary training in-house. This is to brief you of the vehicles that the company specifically uses as well as the standard operating procedures that are exclusively implemented in the company.

Medical Pass

For your employer to further ensure that you are fit for the job, especially because the designation will require you to long hours and erratic schedules, they will also require you to submit a medical certificate. The issuing medical professional must be someone who received a certification from the Department of Transportation.

Criminal Record

Employers will most likely check if you have a history of participating in crime. If any, some will look into its gravity while others will reserve their right to refuse you employment.

Driving a truck is as noble a job as those who work in the front lines to provide for the immediate needs of the economy. Pursuing a truck-driving career takes a rigorous process but is, otherwise, a worthwhile one.

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