Trained and qualified truck drivers may offer professional
services throughout the country. Trucks and deliveries are an
important part of the nation's pickup and delivery system, and
truck driving jobs are abundant. Truck driving schools offer
behind-the-wheel experience to give students the confidence,
skills, and resources to become successful in the long term.
Truck drivers may choose jobs in a variety of careers with the
majority found in commercial vehicle transportation.
Job Description and Responsibilities of Truck Driving School Graduates
Graduates of truck driving
school, and those that pursue truck driving jobs are generally required to:
Work a variety of shift
Verify appropriate working
conditions of their trucks for safe travel
Operate their vehicle under
strict guidelines and standards
Be aware of potential hazards
and learn to become vigilant drivers
Work with dispatchers and
agents to coordinate deliveries
Receive important information
from company headquarters
Make a full report of the
vehicle's condition after the end of every shift or delivery run
Career Options for Truck Driving School Graduates: Truck Driving Jobs
Truck drivers have various options when pursuing a truck driving
career. They may choose truck driving job opportunities in:
Long distance truck drivers generally operate trucks greater than 26,000
pounds, and their trip may include loading or unloading cargo, carrying
specialty cargo, transporting heavy furniture, automobiles, or warehouse goods.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is the regulating body for long-distance
truck drivers, and limits work periods to 60 hours per 7 day period with a
mandatory rest of 10 hours for every 11 hours of driving.
Heavy truck and tractor-trailer driving may involve transportation of
automobiles, manufacturing equipment and supplies, and even mobile homes.
Tractors, farm equipment, and products are other standard items for drivers in
this category. These truck drivers often work with teams of loaders and
equipment handlers at each destination. They are often in regular communication
with the dispatch office or company headquarters.
Route sales and local delivery drivers generally undertake shorter routes
and work within a specific region. They are responsible for picking up and
delivering merchandise, speaking with local representatives, and completing
assigned deliveries under quick turnaround times. Customer service is a priority
for route sales drivers, and each type of business or industry has different
requirements. Most local and regional truck drivers are responsible for loading
and unloading their own trucks. The U.S. Department of Transportation is the
regulating body for local and regional truck drivers, limiting work periods to
50 hours per week.
Truck Driving School and Training
Acquiring a CDL (Commercial Driver's License) or becoming a truck driver is
simpler after taking a driver-training class. A variety of truck driving
programs are available throughout the country, and these courses are offered at
both public and private technical and vocational schools. At a truck driving
school, students learn how to:
Ensure vehicles, equipment, and cargo meet federal and state regulations
Safely operate vehicles in different situations
Operate specialized trucks and receive guided instruction
Understand how sales and product training works
Students may also obtain certification through the Professional Truck Driver
Institute (PTDI). This certificate helps train tractor-trailer drivers according
to the guidelines and industry standards of the Federal Highway Administration.
Truck Driver Job Qualifications
and state regulations vary across the nation, but there is a basic standard for
truck drivers. These regulations may require that the driver:
Obtain a resident state-issued Commercial Driver's License (CDL)
Possess a standard driver's license (some states)
Demonstrate an ability to safely drive a commercial-sized vehicle by passing a
least 18 years of age; the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation board
requires drivers to be at least 21 years old
Adhere to all age requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of
the U.S. Department of Transportation's Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
sufficiently proficient in written and spoken English, and be able to
communicate with law enforcement
must also pass a series of physical tests to ensure proper health. They must:
a biannual physical examination
Possess a 70 degree field of vision in each eye and 20/40 corrected or
normal use of their limbs and normal blood pressure
use controlled substances as prescribed by a licensed medical doctor
tested for alcohol and drug use
Truck Driving School Graduates' Earning Potential and Employment Prospects
As the demand for freight transportation grows, employment
prospects are attractive for truck drivers. Employment is expected to grow
through 2012 as the need for truck delivery and pickup services increases.
Long-distance drivers are regularly required to transfer perishable goods that
cannot be transported by flight or ships. Improved working conditions and
innovative vehicles make truck driving an attractive and competitive industry.
In 2002, heavy truck and tractor-drivers earned a median hourly
wage of $15.97. The top 10 percent made more than $23.75, and hourly wages
fluctuate based on shift, number of hours worked, and whether the company was a
public or private firm. Self-employed truck drivers earn significantly higher
wages, but must also manage the finances and common expenses for freight truck drivers.