What do you need to become a truck driver?
If you are looking into driving a truck as a career and are wondering what you need to become a truck driver, then you are in the right place. I'm going to share with you 5 basic things you need to consider if you are even going to be considered a candidate for the career.
Let me start off by saying that becoming a truck driver is not hard. There may be a few challenges some people have to overcome but, compared to other career choices, becoming a truck driver is easy.
Here are the 5 basic things you need to help you clear the first step of starting your trucking career.
1. Your Age
Even though you can become a truck driver before you are 21yrs old, you will find it very difficult to find a company that will hire you. If you find one, it will most likely be like farm work, oil field work etc and you will not be allowed to drive across state lines.
As of this writing, to become an interstate truck driver (meaning you drive across different states), you need to be at least 21 years old. There is a bill in Congress where they are talking about lowering that age requirement to 18 years. Maybe things will change in the future.
2. Your criminal record
As a truck driver, you will be moving thousands, sometimes millions worth of merchandise. Trucking companies want to know that they are hiring someone they can trust with that kind of freight.
Your criminal record is one of the ways to help them identify the kind of person they are hiring.
If you have a criminal record, it may be hard for you to become a truck driver but, it doesn't mean they won't consider you. Depending on the type of crime and how long ago the crime was committed, some trucking companies will give you a chance.
What you may need in this case are strong references and a good work history to help improve your chances of being considered.
3. Your driving record.
This one shouldn't surprise you because trucking companies are in the business of moving freight and the autonomous trucks being talked about haven't yet taken over the truck driver jobs.
Just because you can drive doesn't mean you can get a trucking job. The trucking industry wants or should I even say needs safe drivers.
They want to move that freight safely and on time. That's where truck drivers have to shine. When it comes to driving, we (truck drivers) are mostly judged by two factors.
1. Are we safe drivers?
2. Are we reliable drivers?
Too many accidents, speeding tickets, and moving violations make it hard for you to get a trucking job. This is because it tells the trucking companies that you are a reckless driver and you may be hard to insure you.
If you have an accident or a moving violation on your record, trucking companies will still hire you. But, that will depend on the company and how long the violation was.
So, make sure your driving record is good or isn't too bad.
4. Your work history
Your work history helps to show the company what kind of person you are as an employee.
Do you keep jumping around from one company to another, or are you one that is stable? Having a good work history will help to separate you from the crowd and also speed up your application.
Also, keep in mind that most trucking companies don't want to see a lapse in employment. If you do have a lapse, you will have to account for it.
5. Your Health
Trucking companies want to know that you are healthy enough to be driving a truck.
Believe it or not, there are many drivers that have failed to make it through orientation because of their health. the big issue that takes drivers out is high blood pressure.
Before being hired on with a trucking company, you will need to go through a medical and physical exam. And you will need to do that exam every 2 years or every year if you have a health issue that needs to be kept under control.
Why do you want to become a truck driver?
When I got into trucking I did not have a specific goal of what I wanted to achieve as a truck driver. I guess I just assumed that there was a way of "climbing the career ladder."
I don't want you to waste your life like I did. Time in trucking flies. I don't want you to look back one morning and realize ten years have passed and you haven't climbed any ladder.
If you don't set a goal of what you want to accomplish in trucking. You may have nothing to show for the years you spend driving trucks.
So, if you choose to become a truck driver, think hard about what you want to make of your trucking career. Write it down and make a workable plan towards it.
If you chose to become a truck driver, this bonus step alone will put you in the 20% of truck drivers that have a great trucking career.
Until next time,