You may have seen commercials touting truck driving as a career on the television, heard announcements for classes on the radio or simply passed by a rest area and wondered what it would be like to drive the open road for a living. No matter what has sparked your interest, there are very specific ways to gain a job as a long-distance trucker.
To become a long-distance trucker, you must first find, and enroll in, a school specifically for truck driving. Look for an accredited school that offers over-the-road, or OTR, training. You should look for a school that offers, at the very minimum, 44 hours of hand-on driving experience; more is better. Some of the best schools also offer job placement programs that will help you find work after you’ve earned your commercial driver’s license.
Once you’ve passed your courses, you’ll need to apply for your Class A commercial driver’s license. Remember when you took your first driver’s test? The test for a CDL is much the same; you’ll need to pass both a written exam and a hands-on driving test. If you’d like to make yourself more employable, seek a hazardous materials endorsement for your CDL.
3. Find a Local Job
Don’t expect to secure a job as at OTR trucker with a fresh CDL in your wallet. Find a job with a local trucking company and get some experience under your belt first. Once you’ve driven shorter distances for about a year, you can begin applying with long-distance trucking companies and will stand a much better chance of landing a position. You may even luck out and find a local company that will reimburse you for your OTR classes.
4. Drive Safely
While you are working for a local company, and while you are operating your own motor vehicle, maintain a clean driving record. This means that you should avoid accidents as well as parking tickets and speeding violations. Even one blemish on your driving record will hurt your chances of gaining employment as at OTR driver.
5. Apply with an OTR Carrier
Once you’ve driven locally and maintained a clean driving record for at least a year, find an OTR carrier or two that you’d love to work for. Apply with these companies and be sure to highlight any extra endorsements as well as your truck driving experience.
Attending school, earning your CDL, driving with a local company and maintaining a safe driving record are the steps you must take if you hope to become an OTR driver. The best way to find out about a job is to talk to people already employed in the industry! Stop at one of those rest areas and find a trucker who is willing to answer your questions; you may find out about a school or company that you hadn’t already considered!
Author Casey Stevens is a landscape consultant and writes for truckertotrucker.com, a site featuring all types of Trucks For Sale. The choices include many types of trucks — from a box truck to a dump trailer, Mack trucks and flatbed trailers.