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Do you enjoy long road trips? Do you want a job that lets you see more of the world? If so, a career as a professional truck driver might be perfect for you. Commercial truckers get to enjoy their workdays from the driver’s seat, exploring the diverse beauty of the nation’s highways. Like any career, you need the proper resources and qualifications before you can buckle up and start taking jobs. If trucking is the right professional pursuit for you, our guide on how to start a career as a commercial truck driver can help you get started.
The first step to pursuing any career is to do your research. Becoming a professional truck driver takes serious consideration. You have to figure out how to balance your home life with the hours spent on the road. If you’re an owner-operator or contract driver, you must create a budget and schedule that allows you to pay for your vehicle, gas money, and other expenses while still making a profit. Before you jump into this job, write up a business plan that establishes your expected income, budget, schedule, and other vital details. The more you know going into the process, the more prepared you’ll be to make this career as successful as possible.
The biggest part of how to start a career as a commercial truck driver is obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) through your state. Every state has slightly different requirements for the CDL. The company you want to work for might also ask for specific qualifications. As such, this process will look slightly different depending on where you live and what kind of trucking career you want. Make sure you research these details so that you can gain every certification and qualification you need. You can find truck driving schools and similar training programs to help prepare you for the CDL exam. In some cases, you can even get a Commercial Driver’s Permit that lets you get hands-on experience with an experienced mentor before taking your exam. The CDL process will also include a physical assessment and a written test about state and federal traffic laws. Once you pass these requirements and earn your CDL, you can start applying for trucking jobs.
When you’re a professional driver, you have more rules and regulations to follow. In addition to the basics of driving safely and obeying traffic laws, you have to know how to follow professional regulations, maintain your vehicle, and manage your physical health while driving full-time. You can learn some of these rules while getting your CDL, but others come from experience. Skills like parking your semi-truck, putting snow chains on your tires, or staying focused on long drives are essential parts of being a safe and responsible trucker. Pay attention to these and other lessons as you learn from experienced drivers or set off on your own first few driving routes.
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